The Visitation

Mary after hearing that she is with child and that her cousin Elizabeth is about six months along with her Mary goes up to the hill country and visits her cousin. After traveling a hundred or so miles Mary arrived at  the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  At Mary’s greeting the child, John, leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb and Elizabeth responded “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” At this point Mary goes on to recite her canticle, the Magnificat “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” Now Mary stays with Elizabeth and Zechariah for about three months and Elizabeth gives birth to a son.

At this point in the story Mary returns to Nazareth from the Hill country but it most likely wasn’t until after the events of the birth and circumcision had taken place. So Elizabeth gives birth to a son and everyone is overjoyed at this happening as Elizabeth had lived through the birth. At the circumcision Elizabeth says the his name will be John not Zachariah but her relatives said there is no one named John in the family.  So Zachariah, who had been rendered mute by Gabriel earlier on as he doubted the prophesy of the birth of John the Baptist, writes down “His name is John” and with the Zachariah can talk again. Zachariah sings his own canticle, Benedictus, at the birth of his son.

These two canticles are used in the Divine Office at morning prayer(Magnifcat) and evening prayer (Benedictus). This mystery is about family and being there for each other. Gabriel didn’t tell Mary to go visit Elizabeth or anything like that it was her own decision. In this digital world that we live in it seem all to often that people are forgetting the connection of family and friends rather opting for some online relationship. I hope that we remember our family and friends this holiday season and those that we have lost touch with are willing and able to reunite. I also hope that we all can trust in the plans of our heavenly father and not be struck dumb by an angel.