Emily|Catholic Poster Girl
(Author note: During the Year of Faith, I’ll be writing about each of the mysteries of the rosary within the light of Faith. Last column was about The Annunciation.)
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. (Lk. 2: 39)
The Visitation is a celebration of faith: faith that what the Lord said to both these women would be accomplished, would actually happen. Here is Mary, pregnant with the Son of God via the Holy Spirit. Here is Elizabeth, pregnant in her old age, the desire of her heart finally fulfilled. The idea of his wife being pregnant was so outrageous to Zechariah that he was struck dumb by the Angel Gabriel until John was born (Lk. 1:18-20). Here is faith rewarded in a visible, and yes, outrageous, way.
I’ve always liked this mystery because of the closeness of the two cousins. I’ve got a lot of cousins—22 on my mom’s side alone (not counting my siblings and I). And of those, I’m second in line. So I have a lot of younger cousins, and fortunately we’re close with one another. I hope I’ll always be able to offer the hospitality and love Elizabeth so clearly shows Mary. We can forget—Mary was a teenager, and a young one at that. Was she nervous about being pregnant? Was she scared about Joseph’s reaction? Did she know how to take care of a baby? Elizabeth, during the months Mary was with her, could have soothed her fears and shared what she knew. There’s faith that everything will be all right, but there is also the practical preparation, which is equally crucial.
Mary and Elizabeth created their own community of faith, and it’s something we can do, too. Are there other women around us who could use support, help, or just a listening ear? Can we be like Elizabeth and embrace them, welcome them, and share our knowledge with them? I am usually the youngest woman in a group at church, and some older women are very welcoming, which I love and appreciate. These women are so special to me, and helpful as I work out my vocation. I see them as an example I can emulate on how to be a holy, Catholic woman in my state of life.
In these uncertain times, it can be hard to have faith. Let’s use Mary and Elizabeth as our example of trusting in God and His will, even when it can seem impossible, outrageous or just plain strange.