Visitation painting by Therese Quinn rsj.

In recent years on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would send my sister a message saying, “Happy Feast Day!” We call it “our feast day” as our names are Mary and Elizabeth.

The feast of the Visitation celebrated on 31 May annually, commemorates the moment when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth.

Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”.
(Lk. 1:39-42)

As you may know, the Hail Mary prayer features a line from this Gospel of Luke, “blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”.

At the time of Mary’s visit, she was pregnant with Jesus, and Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. “This Gospel scene connects the two ‘annunciations’ of Elizabeth and Mary – two women and two promises. As soon as Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb begins to ‘dance’. Jesus, the Messiah, who is not yet born, but is present in his mother’s womb, meets his precursor, the prophet, who is also present in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth.” (Vatican News)

What a joyous moment Mary and Elizabeth would have shared!

The word ‘joy’ came to my mind when I was reflecting on the Visitation. It prompted me to think about the moments when I feel joy.

Amusingly, when my sister Elizabeth and I visit one another, we experience moments of joy! With our busy lives, we don’t see each other as often as we used to, however when we do meet we cherish the time we have with one another.

For me, this feast day is a reminder of the joy that we can experience in our lives. As Jesus gave joy to Mary, Jesus can also give us joy. As Pope Francis said, “Jesus is our joy”. (Vatican News)

As Mary and Elizabeth experienced joy when they met in the presence of Jesus, may we also experience joy with the presence of Jesus in our lives and with each other.

Mary Baynie
Communications Officer, Congregational Administration Services