July 2 A.D. 2016 – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Calendar for the Traditional Roman Rite
…Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste…
What an easily-overlooked but beautiful Feast the Visitation is! Begun by St. Bonaventure among the Franciscans in A.D. 1263, it became a universal Feast in 1389, during the papacy of Urban VI.
This Feast commemorates what is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: Our Lady’s visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist at the time. At the end of the Archangel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Our Lady that she will conceive, he tells her that her cousin, Elizabeth, an older woman thought barren, will also conceive.
The story as told in the first chapter of Luke (verses 37-47 of this chapter form the Gospel reading for today), the words in italics being the prayer known as “The Magnificat”:
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb.
The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
In the Ardor of Her Love,feeling Herself the Mother of Jesus, Mary sets out in search for Hearts to be Sanctified.
Visit to St. Elisabeth; Sanctification of John.
The soul to her Celestial Mother:
Celestial Mama, your poor child has extreme need of You! Since You are my Mother and the Mother of Jesus, I feel the right to be near You, to place myself at your side, and to follow your steps in order to model mine. Holy Mama, give me your hand, and take me with You, that I may learn to behave well in the different actions of my life.
Lesson of the Queen of Heaven:
Blessed child, how sweet is your company to Me! In seeing that you want to follow Me to imitate Me, I feel refreshment for the flames of love which devour Me. Oh, yes, having you near Me, I will be able to teach you more easily how to live of Divine Will. While you follow Me, listen to Me.
As I became Mother of Jesus and your Mother, my seas of love doubled, and unable to contain them all, I felt the need to pour them out, and to be the first bearer of Jesus to creatures, even at the cost of great sacrifices. But, what am I saying –sacrifices? When one really loves, sacrifices and pains are refreshments; they are reliefs and outpourings of the love one possesses. Oh, my child, if you do not feel the good of sacrifice, if you do not feel how it brings the most intimate joys, it is a sign that the Divine Love does not fill all your soul, and therefore that the Divine Will does not reign as Queen in you. It alone gives such strength to the soul as to render her invincible and capable of bearing any pain. Place your hand upon your heart, and observe how many voids of love there may be in it. Reflect: that secret self-esteem, your becoming disturbed at every slightest adversity, those little attachments you feel to things and to people, that tiredness in good, that bother caused in you by that which is not to your liking, are equivalent to as many voids of love within your heart; voids which, like little fevers, deprive you of the strength and of the desire to be filled with Divine Will.
Oh, how you too will feel the refreshing and conquering virtue in your sacrifices, if you fill these voids with love! My child, give Me your hand now, and follow Me, as I continue to give you my lessons.
So I departed from Nazareth, accompanied by Saint Joseph, facing a long journey, and crossing mountains to go visit Elisabeth in Judea, who, in her advanced age, had miraculously become a mother.I went to her, not to make a simple visit, but because I burned with the desire to bring her Jesus. The fullness of grace, of love and of light that I felt within Me, pushed Me to bring, to multiply – to increase a hundredfold the life of my Son in creatures.
Yes, my child, the love of Mother which I had for all men, and for you in particular, was so great that I felt the extreme need to give my dear Jesus to everyone, that all might possess Him and love Him. The right of Mother, given to Me by the Fiat, enriched Me with such power as to multiply Jesus as many times as there are creatures who want to receive Him. This was the greatest miracle I could perform: to have Jesus ready to give to whomever desired Him. How happy I felt! How I wish that you too, my child, in approaching and visiting people, would always be the bearer of Jesus, capable of making Him known, and yearning to make Him loved. After many days of travel, finally I arrived in Judea, and I hastened to the house of Elisabeth. She came toward Me in feast. At the greeting I gave her, marvelous phenomena occurred. My little Jesus exulted in my womb, and fixing little John in the womb of his mother with the rays of His Divinity, He sanctified him, gave him the use of reason, and made known to him that He was the Son of God. And John leaped so vigorously with love and with joy that Elisabeth was shaken. Touched by the light of the Divinity of my Son, she too recognized that I had become the Mother of God; and in the emphasis of her love, trembling with gratitude, she exclaimed: “Whence comes to me so much honor, that the Mother of my Lord would come to me?” I did not deny the highest mystery; rather, I humbly confirmed it. Praising God with the song of the Magnificat – sublime canticle, through which the Church continuously honors Me – I announced that the Lord had done great things in Me, His servant, and that because of this, all peoples would call Me blessed.My child, I felt devoured with the desire to pour out the flames of love that consumed Me, and to reveal my secret to Elisabeth, who also longed for the Messiah to come upon earth. A secret is a need of the heart which is revealed, irresistibly, to persons who are capable of understanding each other Who can ever tell you how much good my visit brought to Elisabeth, to John, and to their whole household? Everyone was sanctified, filled with gladness, felt unusual joys, and comprehended things unheard-of. John, in particular, received all the graces which were necessary for him, to prepare himself to be the Precursor of my Son. Dearest child, the Divine Will does great and unheard-of things wherever It reigns. If I worked many prodigies, it was because It had Its royal place in Me. If you let the Divine Will reign in your soul, you too will become the bearer of Jesus to the creatures – you too will feel the irresistible need to give Him to all!
Holy Mama, how I thank You for your beautiful lessons! I feel that they have such power over me as to make me yearn continuously to live in the Divine Will. But so that I may obtain this grace – come, descend into my soul together with Jesus; renew in me the visit you made to St. Elisabeth and the prodigies You worked for her. Ah, yes, my Mama, bring me Jesus – sanctify me. With Jesus I will be able to do His Most Holy Will.
To honor Me, you will recite the Magnificat three times, in thanksgiving for the visit I made to St. Elisabeth.
Holy Mama, visit my soul, and prepare in it a worthy dwelling for the Divine Will.
The Magnificat, taken from Luke’s Gospel (1:46-55), is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s hymn of praise to the Lord. It is also known as the Canticle of Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours, a special collection of scripture readings, psalms, and hymns that constitute what is known as the prayer of the church. (Priests and other religious are required to pray sections from the Liturgy of the Hours each day.)
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.