The Visitation

The second Joyful mystery is the Visitation. This is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:39-56. After hearing that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant Mary went to visit her. Now Elizabeth lived a little some speculate it was south of Jerusalem, in Hebron or even in Ein Karem, wherever it was Mary traveled from Nazareth to visit about a 150 mile journey which would take a couple of days to get there. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed until she had given birth to John. The feast day is on 31 May for the Western Church and 30 March in the Eastern Church.

The feast was first celebrated by the Franciscans and by 1263 it was spreading around to other churches in the Franciscan Breviary. Pope Urban VI hoping to end the Western Schism in 1389 added it to the Roman calendar, the official list of feast days of the church. It wasn’t until 1969 when the feast was moved to May so that it would be between the Annunciation (25 March) and the Nativity of John the Baptist (24 June) to better align with the Gospels.

The fruit of this mystery is love of neighbor. As we approach the Christmas season we will expect to look out toward our neighbors and celebrate with them this great feast however how often is it that we care more about ourselves or what’s on the screens in front of us than those living next door. Let us all try to go out and meet our neighbors since we all live in a community and they are it.

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