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Feast of the Visitation (of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth) [Ecumenical] ^ | not available | Fisheaters

Posted on 05/30/2008 8:56:18 PM PDT by Salvation

Feast of
the Visitation

The Visitation, by Master MS, 1506 (detail). The iris and peonies are symbols of Our Lady, whose hand St. Elizabeth kisses.


What an easily-overlooked but beautiful Feast the Visitation is! Begun by St. Bonaventure among the Franciscans in A.D. 1263, it became a universal Feast in 1389, during the papacy of Urban VI.

This Feast commemorates what is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: Our Lady's visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist at the time. At the end of the Archangel Gabriel's Annunciation to Our Lady that she will conceive, he tells her that her cousin, Elizabeth, an older woman thought barren, will also conceive. The story as told in the first chapter of Luke (verses 37-47 of this chapter form the Gospel reading for today), the words in italics being the prayer known as "The Magnificat":
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to 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 leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

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 to his seed for ever.

And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son.

It's strange that this Feast should come after 1 the Feast of St. John which we just celebrated eight days ago, but this is the day after the octave of his birthday and helps explain why his birth was so important. It was at the Visitation that St. John, along with his mother, were filled with the Holy Ghost, the cause of his being born without the stain of original sin. It is today that our Redeemer, Our Lady, and the one about whom Christ said "there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist" all came together, the three pure ones all born without sin after the Fall (of course, Christ and His mother were also conceived without sin).

But this Feast says something very profound about Mary and who she is. Compare how St. Luke describes Mary's visit with how David's visit to the Ark of the Covenant is described in II Kings (2 Samuel in some Bibles):


II Kings 6:2 And David arose and went, with all the people that were with him of the men of Juda to fetch the ark of God, upon which the name of the Lord of hosts is invoked, who sitteth over it upon the cherubims.

Luke 1:39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda

II Kings l 6:9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, saying: How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?

Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

II Kings 6:11 And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months...

Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house...

II Kings 6:16 And when the ark of the Lord was come into the city of David, Michol the daughter of Saul, looking out through a window, saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord [His Presence over the Ark]

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb.

St. Luke clearly wants us to see Our Lady as the Ark of the New Covenant, the bearer the Word just as the Ark of the Old Covenant carried the tablets containing the ten words of God; the one who bore the Root of Jesse Who came back to life in three days, just as the Ark of the Old Covenant carried Aaron's rod which sprouted; the one who bore the Bread of Life just as the Ark of the Old Covenant carried some of the manna that sustained the children of Israel in the desert. St. John the Evangelist wrote of this same Truth when he described his Heavenly vision in Apocalypse 11:19-12:1-5:

And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne.

These verses and the words of St. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (a.k.a. Gregory of Neocaesarea, A.D. 213 - ca. 270) remind us who Mary is:

And thus she received the word, and in the due time of the fulfilment according to the body's course she brought forth the priceless pearl. Come, then, ye too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, "Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou, and the ark of Thy sanctuary." For the holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary.

Pray the words of St. Athanasius and realize the depths of Mary's beauty! Turn to her to intercede for us with her Son:

O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all, O Ark of the Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which Divinity resides.

Turn to Our Lady!

See also the Queenship of Mary (31 May).

1 This Feast was moved to May 31 on the Novus Ordo calendar, which is the date of Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the traditional calendar.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
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1 posted on 05/30/2008 8:56:19 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

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2 posted on 05/30/2008 8:57:17 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Mary's Visitation of Elizabeth-St. Ambrose

Mary's Visitation of Elizabeth-St. Ambrose

Mary’s Visitation of Elizabeth

St. Ambrose of Milan

Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church

Saint Ambrose, The Eucharist, Manna, Early Church FathersThis excerpt from St. Ambrose’s commentary on Luke (Lib. 2, 19.22-23. 26-27: CCL 14, 39-42) is used in the Roman Office of Readings during the Fourth week of Advent, on December 21.  The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the second joyful mystery of the rosary.

When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary he gave her a sign to win her trust. He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman to show that God is able to do all that he wills.

When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country. She does not disbelieve God’s word; she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign. She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.

Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, laborious efforts. Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear: as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice, but John is the first to be aware of grace. She hears with the ears of the body, but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence, but he is aware of the Lord’s: a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation. The women speak of the grace they have received while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.

The child leaps I the womb; the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, but not before her son. Once the son has been filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit. John leaps for joy, and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, but we know that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in his mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holly Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says: Blessed are you because you have believed.

You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges his works.

Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. In another place we read: Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God, and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.

3 posted on 05/30/2008 8:58:42 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Visitation -- Mary's Soul Proclaims God's Greatness (St. Bede)

Visitation -- Mary's Soul Proclaims God's Greatness (St. Bede)

Visitation: Mary's Soul

Proclaims God's Greatness

St. Bede the Venerable

Saint Bede the Venerable, Mother Mary, Catholic Church

This excerpt from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable (Lib 1,4:CCL 122, 25-26, 30) on the Visitation of St. Elizabeth by the Blessed Virgin Mary is used in the Roman Liturgy's Office of Readings for the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, with the accompanying biblical reading being from Song of Songs 2:8-14 and 8:6-7.  Written in the early 8th century, it explains why the Magnificat, Mary's prayer on the occasion of the Visitation, is used daily in the liturgy of the hours (a.k.a the divine office) for evening prayer.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.
These words are often for all God’s creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

4 posted on 05/30/2008 9:00:26 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Feast of the Visitation (of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth) [Ecumenical]

Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

SEASON OF ANNOUNCEMENT - Sunday Dec. 3, 2006 -The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth


Jesus taught that abortion is wrong while He was in the womb of Mary. (Luke 1)

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

5 posted on 05/30/2008 9:03:05 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
The opening and closing phrases of this hymn are the beginning of the Magnificat:

“My Soul, Now Bless Thy Maker”
by Johann Gramann, 1487-1541

1. My soul, now bless thy Maker!
Let all within me bless His name
Who maketh thee partaker
Of mercies more than thou dar’st claim.
Forget Him not whose meekness
Still bears with all thy sin,
Who healeth all thy weakness,
Renews thy life within;
Whose grace and care are endless
And saved thee through the past;
Who leaves no sufferer friendless,
But rights the wronged at last.

2. He shows to man His treasure
Of judgment, truth, and righteousness,
His love beyond all measure,
His yearning pity o'er distress,
Nor treats us as we merit,
But lays His anger by,
The humble, contrite spirit
Finds His compassion nigh;
And high as heaven above us,
As break from close of day,
So far, since He doth love us,
He puts our sins away.

3. For as a tender father
Hath pity on his children here,
He in His arms will gather
All who are His in childlike fear.
He knows how frail our powers
Who but from dust are made;
We flourish like the flowers,
And even so we fade;
The wind but o'er them passes,
And all their bloom is o'er,-
We wither like the grasses,
Our place knows us no more.

4. God's grace alone endureth,
And children's children yet shall prove
How He with strength assureth
The hearts of all that seek His love.
In heaven is fixed His dwelling,
His rule is over all;
Angels, in might excelling,
Bright hosts, before Him fall.
Praise Him, who ever reigneth,
All ye who hear His Word,
Nor our poor hymns disdaineth-
My soul, oh, bless the Lord!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn 34
Text: Psalm 103
Author: Johann Gramann, 1525
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: Nun lob, mein’ Seel’, den Herre
Tune: Nun lob, mein’ Seel’
1st Published in: “Concentus Novi”
Town: Augsburg, 1540

6 posted on 05/30/2008 9:18:45 PM PDT by lightman (Waiting for Godot and searching for Avignon)
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To: lightman

I think the Magnificat sung all by itself is also very beautiful.

7 posted on 05/30/2008 9:25:53 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: lightman
Some more links for those learning about Catholicism:

The Prayer of the Virgin Mary, The Magnificat - The Canticle of Mary

MARY SINGS THE PRAISES OF GOD’S MERCY [Magnificat, Canticle of Mary]

The Magnificat: Mary’s Own Prayer

Prayer and Meditation: Magnificat anima mea Dominum

Story of the Little Prayer Book That Could (George Weigel on the Magnificat [magazine])

8 posted on 05/30/2008 9:27:03 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

9 posted on 05/31/2008 3:19:37 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: Kolokotronis

Thanks for the icon.

10 posted on 05/31/2008 7:55:20 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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