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The Visitation of Our Blessed Lady is a witness given by God to confirm the miraculous Conception which took place in Mary. That is why it is a sublime mystery in the life of Our Heavenly Mother and a consoling one for us, Her devoted children.
1. The Mystery. No sooner had the mystery of the Incarnation been completed than the mystery of the Visitation takes place. Both are closely connected with each other. We could say that in the Annunciation Heaven itself through an angel hails Mary with the most beautiful of all salutations, and acknowledges Her as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven. But God does not want Earth to remain indifferent, and thus on earth too He prepares a salutation, a witness for Mary. The Angel spoke for Heaven. Saint Elizabeth spoke in the name of earth. Her words, sentiments, and praises contain something of ours. In her greetings to Mary, she speaks also for us.
Rejoice at this arrangement made by God, Who, indeed, wanted that we through Elizabeth should share the joy that thrilled Heaven and earth in front of the Incarnation of the Word and the Divine Maternity of Mary. Imagine, then, that you yourself are speaking. Repeat with enthusiasm and fervor the praises which were addressed to Our Heavenly Mother by Her cousin.
2. Mary's Visitation was an Act of delicate Courtesy. Our Lady knew how happy St. Elizabeth would be when after so many years of sterility God granted her to have a child at such an advanced age. What joy pervaded her home! How great was Elizabeth's happiness when she realized that God had in the end yielded to her constant prayer! Our Lady knew it, and without hesitation She decides to share that joy and even, by running to give Her personal congratulations, to increase it.
Courtesy and sanctity are never at variance. Ridiculous exaggerations and false compliments such as the world offers are, of course, another question. But selfish, discourteous behavior by which we do not give our neighbor his due is directly opposed to sanctity.
Think of these most delicate and courteous traits of Our Heavenly Mother and be persuaded that good manners and courtesy, when practiced in a Christian way, are a great part of sanctity; nay, they form one and the same thing with it. It will be well to examine ourselves in front of this exquisite model, Our Blessed Lady.
3. It Was an Act of Obedience. Our Lady was not driven by a mere act of courtesy and far less by a desire of verifying the words of the Angel, since Mary's faith never faltered or wavered. Neither did She go to visit Her cousin just to inform Her of the mystery that had taken place in Her bosom and which had raised Her to the dignity of Mother of the Messias. On the contrary, She had kept it hidden even from Her spouse, St. Joseph. Not a word had been said to him about the secret that had arisen between God and Herself.
Mary goes to Elizabeth's house out of obedience, moved by an inner drive, by an inspiration from God which compels Her. She does not waver. She follows the inspiration without any fear. She was still a young girl. The way is long and hard: Her state was very delicate. Yet because God wants it, She immediately puts it into execution. What an immense love for obedience, what trust in God! Little did Mary know about the aim intended by God in this visit. She knew nothing of what was going to happen in that house. Yet She never questioned; She did not worry. The only thing that matters is to abandon Herself to God and obey blindly and promptly. God knows where He is taking Her. That suffices.
4. The Visit was primarily an Act of Charity. This is the only occasion when the Gospel says that Mary went with all haste. This haste does not seem to be in keeping with the calm and tranquillity of Her condition. Why, then, this haste? Because of the flame of charity. In Her virginal bosom She has the Word of God, Who is love, and this fire inflames Her and makes Her run where charity calls Her.
St. Paul said that he was spurred on by the charity of Christ. So he could have no rest and wanted to bring the flame of His charity all over the world. How great, then, would be the fire of the love of Mary! How eager was Her desire that Jesus should spread His grace as soon as possible and begin the work of the sanctification of souls. On account of this, She flies in great haste to give vent to the charity which inflames Her.
Now, think and compare your visits with Hers. Are they always a model of delicate courtesy under the inspiration of God? Are they, above all, prompted by that spirit of charity whereby you long to do some good to your neighbor? Are they not rather a means of wasting time, of indulging in backbiting and criticism? How much hypocrisy very often lies under the visits which are prompted by the spirit of the world!
Examine your conversations also and the motives behind your words. Promise Our Lady that you will always edify your neighbor by never violating the spirit of Christian courtesy and that you will always keep in mind the law of charity, so well practiced by Our Heavenly Mother.
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