And Mary, Rising Up in Those Days…
“And Mary said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” And the Angel departed from her. And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
“And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken of thee by the Lord.” Luke, 38-45.
Today the Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth, her cousin and the mother of St. John the Baptist, who is the infant referred to in the foregoing passage. This passage is one of the most important passages in the New Testament. If you are a protestant Bible scholar, you can probably cite the number of passages where Sacred Scripture tells us that someone was filled with the Holy Ghost when they spoke. That, most certainly, means that God is speaking. And what is being said?
“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
That is actually the second time in this first Chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel that Mary is called Blessed. In verse 28, the Angel says, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
Do you think God is saying something of importance here? Certainly, the Angel, sent by God, is speaking those words in obedience to God! Just as certainly, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, was obedient in her honor of Mary. And why was Elizabeth calling Mary blessed?
Elizabeth explains, “blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.”
Ponder that for a minute and then ask your protestant acquaintances why the very first Chapter of Luke has two references to Mary being blessed and even explaining why she is blessed and yet they never see fit to honor this most blessed among all women, who is blessed precisely because she believed and obeyed God.
When confronted, they will quote a further passage from Luke, that of Chapter 11, 27-28: “and it came to pass that as He spoke those things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck.” But He said, “Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
Now quoting that passage is a little disingenuous of the protestants, don’t you think? Our Lord refocused the statement on hearing the word of God and keeping it, which was of course, His message. Does that somehow contradict what was spoken by the Angel and Elizabeth, who were both speaking in obedience to the Holy Spirit?
No, of course it didn’t! God does not contradict Himself! There is no scriptural evidence whatsoever that Mary ever refused to hear or to keep the word of God. In fact, it was her obedience that made the Incarnation of Our Saviour possible.
And so we honor her today on the feast of the Visitation, which is also the Second Joyful Mystery of her Rosary. And a wonderful way to do that is with her Magnificat:
“And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath shewed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever.” Luke 1, 46-55.
For those who are blessed to be able to recite her Little Office daily, get to honor her in her Visitation, with the Magnificat every day! Try her Little Office and she will share beautiful things with you and “your joy will be made full”. And that’s a promise!
~ posted by evensong ~The Visitation, 2015