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Photo: Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449–1494)
'The Beauty and Gift of Life'
The Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation
By Bryan Thatcher, MD (Sep 26, 2014)
Second of a 20-part series. Next week: The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus.
When reflecting on the Visitation of Mary to see her cousin Elizabeth (see Lk 1:39-46), three main themes or points come to mind.
The first is the beauty and gift of life. Here, the unborn John the Baptist, who today many would consider "just a piece of tissue," recognized the unborn Savior, for Elizabeth declared that John leaped in her womb with joy when she heard Mary's voice. This is a human being in the womb that leaped for joy! Let us recognize in a deeper way the sanctity of all human life and pray for those who do not understand and realize that all life is a gift from God.
Elizabeth and Mary were two simple, devout women of God. They were materially poor but spiritually rich. We can learn from the Scripture reading as it radiates and reflects the excitement and joy that both women had about the life in their wombs.
These readings can teach us so much about the gift of life. As Scripture tells us, "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise [and], God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong" (1 Cor 1:27).
The second point is about mercy. Mary was filled with the love of God and radiated that love out to others. What did Mary do when she was told of Elizabeth's pregnancy? Scripture tells us that she went "with haste" to see her. She wasn't making excuses why she shouldn't make the long journey. Her life was in such unison with God's will that she knew she must go. She had a deep love and compassion for her cousin, who was elderly and now pregnant. Mary was not focused on herslf but her cousin Elizabeth.
The third point is that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. That is, she was filled with love that comes only from God, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit flowed from Elizabeth when she heard Mary's voice. She recognized immediately that Mary was carrying her Lord and Savior, the Messiah, for whom the people had been waiting for so many years.
As we contemplate the Second Joyful Mystery, let us also ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we can recognize our Lord in all we meet — in our family members, in our superiors at work, in those we find it difficult to love, and in the distressing disguise of the poor and needy.
Bryan Thatcher, MD, is founder and director of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation