Thursday, May 31, 2007

Visitation: Christ was there.

I attend Saturday morning Mass at the Convent of the Visitation-School in Mendota Heights on a regular basis. There at the end of Mass the sisters greet each other with the following words:

"God be praised. Good morning, my dear sister."

They bow to each other as they do it.

I think of that action today as we recall the pilgrimage the Blessed Virgin Mary made to visit her cousin Eizabeth. As at the Convent, so it was in the hill country of Judea, in the tiny hamlet.

Elizabeth awaited in joyful anticipation the birth of her son, John ,who would be called the Baptist. She found a kindred joy in greeting her cousin Mary who had come to assist her in her need.

There was fellowship in that greeting,
there was joy,
there was service,
and above all there was Christ.

He was present in the embrace of these two holy women.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Charity
from her book, No Greater Love.

"As soon as the angel had visited Mary, she went with haste to her cousin Elizabeth, who herself was expecting a child. A nd the child to be born, John the Baptist, leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.

How marvelous! The all-powerful God chose a child yet to be born to announce his Son’s coming! In the mystery of the Annunciation and the Visitation, Mary is the very model of the life we should lead.
First of all, she welcomed Jesus in her existence; then, she shared what she had received. Every time we receive Holy Communion, Jesus the Word becomes flesh in our life – gift of God who is at one and the same time beautiful, kind, unique. Thus, the first Eucharist was such: Mary’s offering of her Son in her, in whom he had set up the first altar.

Mary, the only one who could affirm with absolute confidence, “this is my body”, from that first moment offered her own body, her strength, all her being, to form the Body of Christ. Our mother the Church raised women to a great honor before the face of God by proclaiming Mary as Mother of the Church."

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