“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?
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.
Even as Elizabeth praised Mary, the most Blessed Virgin turned her eyes to God and praised Him with perfect humility in her hymn, the Magnificat:
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness 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.
Note, Mary, as the creature most perfect, most beloved of God, acknowledges that she is nothing without God. This perfect humility in Mary, this perfect obedience to God’s will in all things is what makes our devotion to Mary so beneficial. Mary is our quickest, surest way to the Heart of her beloved Son.
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.” How can a mere mortal “magnify” the Divine Lord? In the pure, clear soul of the Immaculata, God’s glory is reflected back as a mirror reflects back the brightness of the blazing sun. This image alone is such a rich source of contemplation, it would take volumes to begin to express properly.
Mary then proclaims, “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid.” In this, she confirms that she is only the servant of God, her Saviour. When, in the Magnificat Mary refers to herself as “His handmaid”, it is the second time she has done so. The first was when she said at the Annunciation, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” By this repetition, Mary is emphasizing the importance of her humble obedience. Mary’s entire role in the salvation of mankind is based on humility and obedience.
The following verse, “behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”, must be overlooked by those who reject devotion to Mary. Our Blessed Mother quickly adds to that verse, “Because He that is mighty, hath done great things unto me; and holy is His name”. Thus, we see that Mary always keeps the divine order, and never fails to attribute her every blessing to God alone. It is impossible to be truly devoted to Mary and not at the same time adore the most Holy Trinity; Mary is the most beloved Daughter of God the Father, the most pure Mother of God the Son and the most glorious Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Thus, Mary’s entire worth is in her perfect reflection of God.
Mary’s hymn reflects also her adoration of God’s most sacred name, “holy is His name.” This, of course is our first duty and Mary’s hymn exemplifies this exquisitely. The Magnificat is a salutary prayer to remedy the all-pervasive blasphemy of these times.
When Mary proclaims, “His mercy is from generation to generations, unto them that fear Him”, she is stating that God’s mercy is inextricably united with fearing Him. How long has it been since you heard a sermon on “fear of the Lord”? Unless you are as old as I am, or attend an SSPX Chapel, it is unlikely that you have ever heard any priest speak of this important virtue. Yet the Bible teaches, “Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you fear of the Lord.” [Psalm 33, 12] Father Gabriel tells us that “this is the first lesson the Divine Paraclete teaches the soul” who is seeking closer union with God. (Divine Intimacy,)
Fear of the Lord is such a tremendous love for God, such intimacy with Our Saviour, that we live in a holy fear of wounding Him in any way. If we truly love God as Mary teaches us, then we will always fear the loss of His love. Father Gabriel then says, “Captured by love for such a good father, the soul has but one desire, to return Him love for love, to give Him pleasure and to be united with Him forever.”
Mary goes on to proclaim God’s justice, which has, “scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart… 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”. This reminder of God’s justice, following as it does the promise of His mercy “from generation to generations”, helps us understand the divine order. It is the remedy for the worldly false mercy of Bergoglio/Kasper. Our Blessed Mother, from Quito to Fatima has spoken of God’s mercy while warning of His justice. We must be mindful of the coming justice of God, even as the great mass of humanity continue to to be indifferent to His true mercy.
The closing verses return to the mercy of God, “He hath helped His servant Israel, being mindful of His mercy: As He spoke unto our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever.” Israel refers to the Church, founded by Christ to fulfill the law, enduring until He comes again. As we fight for our faith in this chaotic time, let us renew our prayers for the intercession of the Immaculate Mother God on behalf of our poor Church. And so we return to our Rosaries, renewed in our faith, encouraged by the promise of God’s mercy and justice, and inspired by our Most Blessed Mother to pray for the liberty and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church, seeking always the restoration of all things in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
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!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, intercede for us now and at the hour of our death!
† Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests!
† St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families!
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
† Remember, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin – give me strength against thine enemies!