Today’s celebration: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zephaniah 3:14 – 18a – Isaiah 12:2-3, 4:bcd, 5-6 – Luke 1:39-56
“Like Mary, our call is to bear the ‘Arc of the Covenant’ – the Word made flesh – into the world.” (my own quote)
Today’s Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth, Is filled with all kinds of wonder if we but take the time to look. In the first place we never use the word, “visitation” in our every-day language: “I think I’ll visitate my friend…” It is clearly a word that packs with it some other, exceptional meaning. We are invited to see Mary as the “Arc of the Covenant” making the journey to visit her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, who is about to give birth to John the Baptist. Joy comes to Mary as she reaches out to help her cousin and that joy is even experienced by the babes in their wombs: they leapt for joy!
We are told that at our own baptism and confirmation we become “temples of the Holy Spirit.” We, too, carry the “Word of God” out into the world. How often do we think of ourselves in this way? Probably not often enough! When God breaths into us His life we are a new creation and given the task to carry His word out into the ends of the earth. Try to think of any times when you sensed that you were in the presence of someone holy. That holiness was not something that you could hold on to – as if you could grasp the wind – but it was there. This is what this feast is all about: recognizing the presence of the Spirit of God.
In the Old Testament when the ‘Arc of the Covenant’ was brought into the presence of the people they “danced for joy” and, along with David their king, they were not embarrassed to show their deepest feelings of joy.
This Feast of Mary trys to show all of us that even in the simplest of ways we need to let the presence of God shine though our entire being. And, just like Mary, we have to realize that there will be times when some kind of “sword” will pierce our hearts. But remember what God spoke to Paul: “My grace is sufficient…” Amen!