Visitation reminds us everything is God’s gift

By Barb Ernster –

Visitation2The feast of the Visitation celebrated today is one of those stories in the Bible that shows the great mystery of God’s presence in the most mundane circumstances of our lives.

It must have been an incredible experience for Mary and Elizabeth, two simple peasant women in the midst of a normal day in the hill country of Judea, unexpectedly sharing in the presence of the Holy Spirit and the revelation of God’s plan for the children in their wombs.

Elizabeth reveals two profound truths: that Mary’s child is the long-awaited Messiah and Mary is the Mother of God – “How does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth gives us the words that we recite over and over in the rosary, “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”

Mary responds with “a song of praise and thanksgiving to God not only for what He did for her, but for what He had done throughout the history of salvation,” noted Pope Francis during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on October 13, 2013. “Everything is His gift. “If we can realize that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be.”

Those who equate the Catholic tradition of honoring Mary with worship or even idolatry might ask themselves whether or not it is possible to worship someone who attributes all the glory and honor for their condition and actions to God.

In the Divine Praises, we too glorify God for His actions in Mary’s life:

    • Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy
    • Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception
    • Blessed be her glorious Assumption
    • Blessed be the name of Mary, virgin and mother

These are works of the Holy Spirit. To deny them is to deny Him, a very grave sin.

Francisco, the little shepherd, once said that if we can offer sacrifices to console God, “how happy we shall be!” Every First Saturday gives us the opportunity to offer ourselves to God, participate in His plan of salvation along with Mary, and console her heart. The 15 minutes keeping Our Lady company while meditating on the mysteries is a very important part of the devotion because we open ourselves to a deeper reflection on the life of Christ and repair for the sins of those who do not acknowledge His saving power.

Everything is a gift from God, including Mary, and Elizabeth recognized this. If we can realize this, how happy we shall be.

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