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The Joy of the Visitation

Whenever I think on the Blessed Virgin Mary, I can’t help but be filled with joy. She brings joy with her, everywhere she goes, Because she brings with her the Holy Spirit and Jesus. She is a woman of praise and rejoicing, directing to the Father who has done great things for her. The mystery of the Visitation is an overabundance of joy.

It is not easy to rejoice when you are faced with difficult situations. That is why I need Mary, to help me rejoice especially in the midst of trials. I would like to rejoice with her heart, to always have her with me, and in me, that I may rejoice at all times and in all circumstances..

Holy Mary, being perfectly united to the Holy Spirit by virtue of her Immaculate Conception is full of grace. In other words, she is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of joy. After freely consenting to the Mother of God, and conceiving him with supernatural joy, she goes up “with haste,” to visit her cousin Elizabeth. I imagine she went with rejoicing in her heart – – it would have helped, because from what I understand he was, the journey from Nazareth all the way to the rocky hill country of Judea, on foot, certainly isn’t an easy one. The joy in her heart would have sustained her, lightning her journey.

When Mary got to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth, that is, when she opened her mouth and Elizabeth heard her words, the infant leaped within the womb of Elizabeth! The, John the Baptist, jumped for joy. It seems that Mary, by her words, communicated the Word from within her – – she is the cause of joy, Jesus being the source of it. This shouldn’t be surprising, after all, doesn’t Jesus say to his disciples, “whoever hears you, hears me?”

Elizabeth herself, filled with the Holy Spirit – – whom Mary also communicates, cries out with joy. It seems that Mary brings with her the presence of the Spirit, being totally espoused to Him. She visibly manifests or radiates him, and he seems to breathe him forth when she speaks. Of course, this is insofar as it is possible for this highly exalted creature, Mary, to do so. It is by the Holy Spirit that Elizabeth prophesies and praises her, “Most blessed are you among women…”

Upon hearing Elizabeth’s words, Our Lady breaks out in joyful praise – – because she recognizes and acknowledges that it is that it is God who has done these great things, of which Elizabeth has spoken, in and through her. Hers is a jubilant song of thanksgiving and praise – – she was the first charismatic, you could say! The words of the Magnificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,” are similar to the words of Hannah’s prayer after the birth of Samuel.

It would make sense that she had some real familiarity with the Scriptures (by which of course i mean the Old Testament). The Blessed Virgin must have been educated during the time she spent in the Temple. Also, she would have such a heightened memory and unsurpassed intellect, second only to her Divine Son, Wisdom Incarnate. And that were not enough, her powers of soul were in perfect harmony with the inspirations and movements of the Holy Spirit with whom she shares such a bond and union with. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure she knew the Scriptures, backwards and forwards, and inside and out, She had complete clarity of heart, mind, and soul to weave together the beautiful and spontaneous Scriptural praise of God that is her Magnificat.

Mary is the faithful daughter Zion, the personification of Israel as faithful Bride. She is perfectly convenient shouts for joy because “the Lord, [her God is in her midst], a mighty Savior,” as the Holy Spirit has spoken through the prophet Zephaniah. (Yes, Jesus is her Savior – – he saved her in advance as I may have mentioned in some other post about the Immaculate Conception). The Father rejoices over Mary: “he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” This Divine rejoicing applies to us as well, but preeminently to her, the personification of the Church. Through her we receive joy in abundance, she causes us to rejoice with, through, and in her and she intercedes with her spouse, the Holy Spirit to keep refueling us with joy. Joy and more joy all around!

(one of my favorite hymns that seem to convey the joy of this feast day is “Tell Out My Soul.”

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