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Carol ZuegnerMay 23, 2024
Giotto, Lower Church Assisi, The Visitation.

A Reflection for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Find today’s readings here.

Family.

That’s what I thought of first when I read Luke’s account of the Visitation: how important it was for cousins Mary and Elizabeth to have each other during this time of pregnancy. For every family, each baby is a miracle. To an even greater extent, Elizabeth and Mary knew their babies were. Elizabeth tells Mary her baby “leapt in the womb” with joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting because Mary is the mother of the Lord. New parents at any age are full of anticipation and, yes, fear about what is to come. Mary trusts God so completely that she can rejoice in being the mother of Jesus, even as she experienced the normal fears of any expectant mother.

Family can help us navigate those fears, and I am sure Elizabeth and Mary shared joy and fear and hope during the three months that Luke tells us Mary stayed with Elizabeth. We rely on family and God during these times of joy and hope. But sometimes it can be hard to trust in God. We are all fearful in our anticipation. God asks each of us to be the person we are meant to be, to be people of hope and mercy. Mary’s faithful trust in God, even when it must have been difficult to even understand what was happening, is an example for all of us.

Elizabeth tells Mary: “most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Those familiar words are part of the Hail Mary, which always bring me comfort and a sense of connection to others though Mary. My Catholic grade school was near a busy street and sirens often blared outside. The nuns who taught the classes would stop at the sound of the siren, and we would all say a Hail Mary for those ill or in trouble. That practice stayed with me. I do the same thing when I am driving and hear a siren: I say a Hail Mary for those in trouble. I pray they are O.K. I hope they have family who can be with them.

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