The Visitation of the Holy Theotokos

I just found this awesome image and I thought I should share it. Apparently this image of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin St. Elizabeth is painted, or written, on a wall from Timios Stavros Church in Pelendi, Cyprus.

This icon depicts Mary as the Theotokos, the God bearer. Jesus Christ became incarnate in and of her through the power of the Holy Spirit. God dwelt among us, in the flesh, first living in the holy womb of Mary for 9 months.

Being impelled by Christ living within her, she makes haste to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, as we read in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Not only does she wish to share her joy of receiving such a tremendous gift, she wants to help her cousin with her pregnancy. Elizabeth is an older woman so she would certainly need some assistance.

The whole scene is so brilliant and, can I say it, pregnant with joy… Literally. What a beautiful detail that Saint Luke points out—the pre-born infant, St. John the Baptist, leaps in his mother’s womb at the presence of Mary and Christ Child dwelling within her! He recognizes who is in his midst. This is followed by Mary’s jubilant praise for God “‘who has done great things for her.” As a result, “all generations [call her] blessed.”

I could probably say more and go on. But I think that’s pretty much all I have for now. Just one more thing, the Visitation makes me think of the great work that the Sisters of Life do to support pregnant women in need, “because God lifts up the lowly.” They are very much icons of Mary, who in turn is an icon of the Church.

I’m reminded of a quote I just read:

“I never think of the Visitation to Elizabeth without thinking of some pregnant woman who needs our prayers.”

– Servant of God Dorothy Day

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