Imagine what it must have been like for Mary on the day the angel Gabriel paid her a visit (see Luke 1:31–33). Mary, a young girl of about thirteen years old, awoke to find an angel in her room. As if that isn’t enough, the angel told her she was going to have a son—she would conceive of the Holy Spirit, her baby would be the Son of the Most High, he would be a king in the line of David, he would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom would have no end. Wow! I’d say Mary had a pretty big morning! And what is the first thing she did? Did she complain? Call her friends and say, “I can’t believe this is happening”? No. She went in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth because the angel told her that Elizabeth, in her old age, was six months pregnant.
We don’t know for sure why Mary left “in haste.” Perhaps Mary, so sweet and humble, went to Elizabeth in haste because she was drawn to help her older cousin in her time of need. Imagine Elizabeth’s situation. She’s “advanced in age,” pregnant with her first child. Any woman who has been pregnant in her twenties or thirties knows the toll a pregnancy can take on a young body. Just imagine being pregnant in your older, frailer years.
Perhaps she went in haste because she was overcome with an uncontrollable eagerness to share the joy and awe of that which was happening within her with one who could understand; she knew that Elizabeth would be able to relate to what she was experiencing.
Whatever her reason for going in haste, Mary met Elizabeth where Elizabeth was at on her journey in life. She brought new life to Elizabeth—a much older cousin who had been barren her entire life and was living in the hill country of Judea.
Have you ever felt like Elizabeth? Have you ever felt as if your time of great conversion has passed, that you have nothing to give, that you are living in the hills of loneliness? Maybe you’ve had moments, as I have, when you feel isolated from God. In those thoughts and in those moments, take comfort, because Our Lady is coming to share her Son with you… and she’s coming in haste.
Mary immediately shared with Elizabeth what she has received; she shares Jesus. By simply being present to Elizabeth, she is saying: “We will walk together in our journey of faith. We will share our stories, our hearts, and our yes to God. As friends, we will come to know our Lord and Savior.”
In the scene of the visitation, Mary modeled perfectly how we should bring Christ to others. What was the first thing Mary did when she completed the rigorous journey up the hillside to Elizabeth? Did she collapse in a chair in Elizabeth’s house, throw her feet up, and say, “Wow, am I exhausted from that little hike!” No! She shares her JOY. The first thing that radiates from Mary is her joy. Mother Teresa said, “Joy was the Virgin’s strength. Only joy could give her the strength to walk without getting tired up to the hill country of Judea in order to carry out a servant’s work.” When Mary finally arrived at Elizabeth’s home, she was so full of the joy of the Holy Spirit that she not only radiated it, she couldn’t contain it. She burst into song:
My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me. And holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever. (Luke 2:46–55)
This feast of the Visitation let the joy of the Lord overshadow you and share that joy with another—perhaps one who feels old, or barren, or like they are living in the hills away from God. Today share your relationship with Jesus with another and let them leap for Joy.
By Kelly Wahlquist
*Excerpt taken from Kelly’s book Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace and Joy. To learn more or to order your copy visit St. George’s Books & Gifts
*Picture ” Jump For Joy” by Corby Eisbacher.