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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth

"Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! 
Sing joyfully, O Israel! 
Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 
The LORD has removed the judgment against you, 
He has turned away your enemies."

When we learn that family members or good friends, against whom we have sinned, are willing to forgive us and begin again, it is an occasion for joy. But even if those closest to us reject us, we can, like Mary, live a peaceful life as long as we are willing to let go and trust God to direct our lives towards healing.

It is not difficult to imagine that Mary suffered much rejection when her family and village friends found out she was pregnant. Those closest to her would have known that she had not lived with Joseph, and at the very least would have wondered how and by whom she was pregnant. Having experienced this kind of harsh judgement helps us understand why Mary was so compassionate towards the newly married young couple who were running out of wine, and towards the Apostles who abandoned her Son when he was most in need. 

Mary knew what it was like to be cruelly judged by people looking for for her faults, but grace helped her put aside any rejection she felt in order to reach out in compassion for others. Her visit to Elizabeth, which the scripture reminds us she made in haste, assures us that Mary's concern was not for herself, but for Elizabeth, who, like her, was newly pregnant. When Elizabeth praised Mary for being open to the voice of God, Mary sings her glorious Magnificat, a song that celebrates all that God has done for her and the poor everywhere. 

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Visit someone today who is not expecting it, even if you can only do it by phone or internet.

What do you most admire about Mary?

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