The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a significant event in Christian history, as it marks the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth, two women who were chosen by God to play important roles in the unfolding of his plan of salvation. The event is described in the Gospel of Luke, where it is recorded that Mary, having been told by the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Son of God, set out to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant at the time.
The journey was likely challenging for Mary, as she would have had to travel a considerable distance, likely on foot or on the back of a donkey, and through difficult terrain. However, Mary's willingness to undertake the journey shows her commitment to her cousin and her trust in God's plan.
When Mary arrived at Elizabeth's home and greeted her, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognised Mary as the mother of her Lord. She exclaimed,
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:42-43).
At this point, something extraordinary happens. John the Baptist, who was still in Elizabeth's womb, leaped for joy. This event is significant because it shows that even before his birth, John recognised Jesus as the Son of God. Elizabeth, too, recognised the significance of the moment and praised Mary's faith, saying,
"Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45).
Mary's response to Elizabeth's greeting was the Magnificat, a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God. In this hymn, Mary rejoices in God's mercy, his power, and his faithfulness. She acknowledges that she is blessed to be chosen by God for this role, and she recognises the greatness of his plan.
The feast of the Visitation is an opportunity for us to reflect on Mary's faith, courage, and humility, as well as her willingness to serve others. It is also a reminder of the importance of family, hospitality, and service to others, and it invites us to imitate Mary's example in our own lives. By doing so, we can participate in God's plan of salvation and contribute to the building of his kingdom on earth.