Today we finish May, the month of Mary, with the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Why do we return to a time before Jesus’ birth just days after celebrating Pentecost?
When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in Mary's womb they were filled with the Holy Spirit, resulting in a joyful anticipation of the coming of the Savior. What a marvelous wonder for God to fill not only Elizabeth's heart with his Holy Spirit but the child in her womb as well. John the Baptist, even before the birth of Jesus, pointed to his coming and leaped for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the King to be born.
Mary’s response to Elizabeth is her great prayer known as the Magnificat. Mary’s response to the loving action of God is to give praise and thanks. She is the lowly servant who acknowledged the favor of God, her Savior. This is the God of blessing, the God of reversals who raises the lowly and brings down the powerful from their thrones. The Magnificat is Mary’s mission statement as a servant of God. She is in continuity with the faithful people of the past and present to the people in all ages.
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. We share in Mary’s mission, humble service and giving our Lord the glory. Mary endured many sufferings as she followed her Son throughout His ministry, which led to His crucifixion and death. But she remained joyful, knowing that the sufferings in this world were nothing compared to the eternal happiness that was to come. We too can remain joyful in the face of suffering, if we remain open to the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. If we fix the eyes of our heart on what is eternal, the Holy Spirit will guide us through our own sufferings and keep us focused on serving the Lord instead of ourselves.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Do you live in the joy and knowledge of God's indwelling presence with you through his Holy Spirit?