Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Visitation

The month of May ends with the Feast of the Visitation when we recall how Mary, when she learned that she would be the mother of God’s Son and that her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth was also pregnant, raced off to be with her.  This was no short journey. The drive today is about 90 miles.  Yet Mary hastened to be with Elizabeth and to help her.  Mary, filled with the Holy Spirit, is always the one who loves and who helps those in need.

On May 26, 2013 Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah where he directed his homily toward the children who were making their First Holy Communion.  He said:

Our Lady, as soon as she had heard the news that she was to be the Mother of Jesus and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting a child — the Gospel says — she went to her in haste, she did not wait. She did not say: “But now I am with child I must take care of my health. My cousin is bound to have friends who can care for her”. Something stirred her and she “went with haste” to Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39). It is beautiful to think this of Our Lady, of our Mother, that she hastens, because she intends to help. She goes to help, she doesn't go to boast and tell her cousin: “listen, I’m in charge now, because I am the Mother of God!” No, she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother who always hurries to us whenever we are in need.

It would be beautiful to add to the Litany of Our Lady something like this: “O Lady who goes in haste, pray for us!”  For she always goes in haste, she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, when they need something and call on her, she hurries to them. This gives us a security, the security of always having our Mother next to us, beside us. We move forward, we journey more easily in life when our mother is near. Let us think of this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being close to us, but without making us wait for her. Always! She — lets us trust in this — she lives to help us. Our Lady who always hastens, for our sake.

Convinced of this, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of St. Mary Major as he prepared to leave Rome recently for the Holy Land.  We too should be convinced that our Blessed Mother will hasten to help us when we turn to her in our need.  

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