The Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

May 31, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:   1 Samuel 2:1-10 / Psalm 113 / Romans 12:9-16b / Luke 1:39-57 / Reflection: A leap of joy


Evocation

Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.

Luke 1:45

Opening Prayer

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant all of us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. †

The Visitation
By 
Jerónimo Ezquerra
(source)

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah’s thanksgiving

Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;

my strength is exalted in my God.

My mouth derides my enemies,

because I rejoice in my victory.

“There is no Holy One like the Lord,

no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God.

Talk no more so very proudly,

let not arrogance come from your mouth;

for the Lord is a God of knowledge,

and by him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are broken,

but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.

The barren has borne seven,

but she who has many children is forlorn.

The Lord kills and brings to life;

he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

The Lord makes poor and makes rich;

he brings low, he also exalts.

He raises up the poor from the dust;

he lifts the needy from the ash heap,

to make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of honor.

For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,

and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;

for not by might does one prevail.

The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;

the Most High will thunder in heaven.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

he will give strength to his king,

and exalt the power of his anointed.”

Response: Psalm 113

God, the helper of the needy

Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord;

praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord

from this time on and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to its setting

the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,

and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,

who is seated on high,

who looks far down

on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust,

and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

to make them sit with princes,

with the princes of his people.

He gives the barren woman a home,

making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the Lord!

Epistle: Romans 12:9-16b

Rejoice with those who rejoice

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-57

Mary greets Elizabeth

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.

Reflection 

A leap of Joy

Excerpted from The Reed of God, by Caryll Houselander [1]:

And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah. [Lk. 1:39]

How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke’s description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. “Those days” in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary’s own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth’s need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother’s womb and leapt for joy.

I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.

With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child’s heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother’s womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.

How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?

She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.

If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, “in haste,” to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.

And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.

Closing Prayer

Mighty God,

by whose grace Elizabeth rejoiced with Mary

and greeted her as the mother of the Lord:

look with favour on your lowly servants

that, with Mary, we may magnify your holy name

and rejoice to acclaim her Son our Saviour,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Feast of the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – May 31, 2018 – liturgical calendar. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-05-31

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