Celebrating with Two Women of Faith

It is the last day of May, and we are once again celebrating the Feast of the Visitation, the commemoration of Mary's visit to Elizabeth, her kinswoman. Both women find themselves in an "impossible" situation. Both women, one beyond the age of childbearing and the other a virgin, are pregnant. This is a story about something that should not be happening. Nonetheless, God has intervened in their joint histories and ordained that they should be held in our collective memories for all time.

Both women are incredulous. Under the circumstances, we would all understand if they were filled with doubt. Interestingly enough, they both react with faith that leads them to praise God. Elizabeth seems to ask a question: And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43) It isn't really a question however; rather Elizabeth is praising God for the goodness and blessing which have overshadowed her and changed her life. She realizes through this question that she has done nothing to deserve God's favor. God deserves the praise.

Mary picks up on Elizabeth's words of praise and pours forth her own in a canticle which has become an important part of the prayer life of the Church, the so-called Magnificat. Is anyone surprised that this text is the most often used text of choral or vocal classical music? Down through the past 2,000 years, composers have turned to Mary's words to lift their voices and ours in songs of praise.

With these two women of faith, we join together today to praise God for the gift of life which has been imparted to these two women and, through them, given to us. "How does this happen to us, that God should come to us in human form to save us from our sins?"

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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