I know, two re-blogs in a row, has Fr. Brench run out of ideas that he’s just plagiarizing himself now?
Ascension Day is a major holy day – among the top seven at least. Today, the 31st, is another major feast day: The Visitation. This is when the Virgin Mary visited her relative Elizabeth when they were both pregnant. And this is a holiday that is pregnant with meaning. American evangelicalism invented a “sanctity of life sunday” held each January, but in the liturgical tradition this holiday is our closest equivalent, considering the activity and recognition of two unborn characters here (John the Baptist and Jesus).
But this is also a ‘Marian’ holiday. Like any other Saint’s Day this is an opportunity to draw near to our Lord through the eyes and footsteps of one who has gone before – and in the case of Mary one who was literally closer to Jesus than anyone else who ever lived, past or present. So without further ado, let’s take a moment today to consider Mary Thrice-Blessed.
The feast of the Visitation may seem like an odd holiday at first glance. It commemorates Mary’s visit to her relative, Elizabeth, recorded in Luke 1:39-56. That passage is also the Gospel reading for the Communion service that day. What is so special about this visit? Three prophecies are recorded in the encounter.
Elizabeth says of Mary “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” The first sentence has been traditionally enshrined as part of the “Hail Mary” prayer popular in Western Catholic piety. The whole statement reveals Elizabeth’s great reverence for Mary on account of her motherhood of the Lord – God himself in the flesh. Elizabeth added this a couple verses later: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what…
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