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May 31: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading Zephaniah 3:14-18
Gospel Luke 1:39-56

...Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice....

Catholic art is beautiful because it focuses on persons: the three Divine Persons, and human persons as well. In Catholic art that portrays today’s feast—the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother—there are four persons shown to the eye of the viewer. Of course, two of them have to be shown indirectly because they are unborn children: St. John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth, and Our Lord in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. Sometimes these two unborn children are portrayed by something akin to halos shining, indicating the grace that dwells within these women through their openness to human and divine life.

If we were to order these four persons in order of holiness, we would first place the Lord Jesus, who is not merely a holy human being, but the source of all holiness: the eternal Son of God. We would certainly place second the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God: she who merited to bear our Redeemer. We would likely place third St. John the Baptist, whom some theologians have taught was without Original Sin.

But reflect today on Saint Elizabeth: fourth in this line, yet like you and me. She is a human creature, not a divine Person. She receives assistance from the Blessed Virgin, as you and I do each day. She was chosen not for drama, as was her son, but for simplicity of life. In light of St. Elizabeth’s vocation, what do you and I take today from her example? “...Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice....” Ask Jesus in your prayers to open your heart to the Holy Spirit, that you might each day speak of His power, His glory, and His love for all people.