Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meditation on the Second Joyful Mystery - The Visitation

Yesterday, June 2, was the First Saturday of the Month.  The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first mentioned by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays..."  The First Saturday devotion is as follows:

It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
The angel Gabriel brings a message
to the young girl Mary
I have gotten into the practice of sharing my meditation on one of the mysteries of the Rosary here.  This month I have chosen the second Joyful mystery of the rosary:  the visitation of our Blessed Mother with her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary had just been visited by the angel Gabriel and she had given her consent to become the Mother of God.  At the same time, Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, who had always been unable to bear children, was six months pregnant.  Mary immediately left to go to Nazareth to be with her cousin and assist her in any way that she needed.

Picture from the Visitation church, which is on the
site where Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth
This was long before the time when you would just hop in your car or even get on public transportation to go anywhere.  The main way to travel was by donkey, and there were no paved roads to travel on, either.  Travelers were completely exposed to the elements and other dangers, and slept under the stars on the hard ground at night.  This did not deter our Blessed Mother in any way.  She was only a young girl - some think she may have been as young as 14 - and had probably never been away from home by herself before.  She was now pregnant, as well.  But she completely disregarded any fears she might had had because her cousin needed her.   Mary was the perfect example of someone who truly loved others, always thinking of others first and never making excuses.  There is no indication that Mary even asked anyone to go with her.  But as the picture from the Visitation Church shows, we can be sure that Mary, carrying the second Person of the Trinity in her womb, was surrounded by unseen angels.

Once Mary arrived at Zachariah and Elizabeth's home, the baby in Elizabeth's womb immediately reacted to our Lord who was in Mary's womb.  From Luke 1:41-42:
41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb: and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Several interesting things here.  First, Jesus and Mary were acting together while he was still in her womb.  Where we find Mary, we will find Jesus.  Just from hearing Mary's voice, the baby inside of Elizabeth, who would become John the Baptist, leaped, and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Spirit.   This is a picture of Mary's role in our salvation.  Mary is the one who brings her Son to us, and if we accept Mary, who is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, he comes and makes His home with us, just as he did with Elizabeth.  The Trinity worked through Mary even before the birth of Jesus, and has continued to work through her ever since.

Elizabeth's words at this meeting indicate she had full realization of who Mary was and who was in her womb.  From Luke 1:
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
How did our Blessed Mother accept these words of praise?  She immediately gave it to God and began to glorify him.  The words she used are now called the Magnificat and are said every day in the Breviary.  Here is part of the Magnificat:
46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord:

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Saviour.

48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

Mary never keeps any praise and devotion given to her but instead, immediately gives it to God and this in turn draws the one giving the praise closer to God.  Our Blessed Mother is the perfect conduit to her Son and the other two members of the Trinity, the Father and the Holy Spirit.   If we accept Mary's visitation as her cousin Elizabeth did, we too will be filled with the Holy Spirit and participate in the joy of the presence of our Lord and Saviour. 

Allow the Blesssed Mother to come into your home and into your life, and you will be blessed by the Presence of her Son, Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit.  There is no more sure road to Jesus than through his most Blessed Mother, for Mary is never without her Son, Jesus, and Jesus will never leave his Mother. 

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