Not long after the young Mary’s loving, voluntary, and gratuitous fiat made possible The Incarnation of Christ Jesus, we hear that she also believed the Archangel Gabriel’s words when he told her that God had also done the impossible in her relative Elizabeth. For, she “set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah.” We’ll later learn in verse 56 that Mary remained with Elizabeth for about three months before she returned home – probably until the birth of John, who would later Baptize Jesus in the Jordan River.
This timeline of three months is important for Luke as he continues to draw parallels from the sixth chapter of the book of Samuel. It’s there that we read that, “The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed Obededom and his whole house.” For Luke, Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant contained the Decalogue (which is the Law/Word), a Pot of Manna (which was the bread from Heaven that sustained the life of the Hebrews during the Exodus), and Aaron’s Rod (which budded and convicted those who were grumbling against Moses). The Ark of the New Covenant, who is the Virgin Mary, contained Jesus (the Word of God and the Bread of Life – the new Manna from Heaven), and the Holy Spirit (which is Truth that convicts us).
The Second Mystery in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary Prayer is called ‘The Visitation'; in which we reflect upon Our Lady’s visit to Saint Elizabeth. Whenever I applied that mystery to my own life and how when “Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit”, I pray to God the Father that I would always be excited at the coming of His Son to me in the Holy Eucharist at Mass, and I pray that as I carry Christ dwelling in, with, and through me that He would also me as the vessel to bring excitement about Him to people I encounter.
When this coming happened to Elizabeth she “cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” That her words became part of our “Hail Mary” prayer was even prophesied by Our Lady in her Canticle recorded in Luke 1:48, “. . . behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.” Those who have recited the “Hail Mary” over past centuries has ensured that our Blessed Mother didn’t lie.
It’s always intrigued me how some Jews, even to this day, have no problem accepting Jesus as a great Rabbi and maybe even a prophet, but cannot not accept Him who He claimed to be – God. Yet, the faithful Jew Elizabeth, wife of a priest, had no problem with accepting Jesus as God. For, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Speaking in Hebrew, she would have said Adonai (אֲדֹנָי), rather than Lord, which has some very powerful implications for a Jew to utter, or dare to call a child in the womb of young girl. Essentially, Elizabeth was asking, ‘How is it that the mother of my God should come to me?”
Elizabeth then concludes her cry by saying, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” For her, Mary’s faith proved to be an immediate contrast with her husband Zechariah, who also received a prophetic visit from the Archangel Gabriel, but was rendered the curse of being made a mute when he questioned out of doubt the what was spoken to him by the Lord’s messenger.
The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a great reminder for us to imitate the faith of our Heavenly Mother, rather than the fear and doubt of Zechariah. The Lord has spoken to you clearly through His grace found everywhere and at all times. He has spoken to you through the sacred Scriptures, the Sacraments of the Church, people in your life, and through the many situations, circumstances, joys, suffering, rewards, and hardships you have experienced.
Have you believed what God has spoken to you? Evidence that you have believed is demonstrated by you taking the blessing that He has given you and sharing it with others, as Mary took to Elizabeth. Evidence is demonstrated by trusting in His Word with reckless abandon. What God told you He will do for you, He will fulfill and you will be blessed, if you just simply believe – truly believe – what was spoken to you by the Lord.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.