Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The party

The feast was established by Pope Urban VI in 1389, with the aim of putting an end to the Great Schism through the intercession of Mary. It has its beginnings in Byzantium, on July 2, when the Gospel of Mary's visit to Elizabeth is read, on the feast of the "Deposition in the Blachernes (basilica) of the Holy Vestment of the Theotokos". The Franciscans adopted this Marian feast day, but made it the Visitation of Mary in 1263. After the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, the feast was fixed on May 31, at the end of the month dedicated to Mary.

“In those days Mary set out into the mountains and hurried to a city of Judah. Entering Zacharias' house, she greeted Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting from her, the child leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed in a loud voice: 'Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'”. (Lk 1, 39-42;46-47)

The race

Per una sorta d’impulso interiore, la Vergine Maria corre dalla cugina Elisabetta.

There may be many reasons that prompted the Virgin Mary to undertake that journey. The desire to put oneself at the service of her cousin Elizabeth, knowing that she was expecting a child at an advanced age, like the desire to communicate what happened to her, knowing that it is easier to understand each other among women "visited" by the angel. In that "running" Mary reveals herself to be a missionary woman (in bringing and sharing the joy of her announcement) and a woman of charity (in placing herself at the service of her elderly cousin).

But nothing prevents us from thinking that there was also the "holy desire" to go and see the "sign" that the Angel had indicated to her: "Ed ecco Elisabetta, tua parente, nella sua vecchiaia ha concepito anch’essa un figlio e questo è il sesto mese per lei, che era detta sterile: nulla è impossibile a Dio” (Lc 1,36-37).

In fondo anche i pastori, in fretta, andarono a vedere “il segno” che gli angeli annunciarono loro nella notte di Natale: “Questo per voi il segno: troverete un bambino avvolto in fasce, che giace in una mangiatoia» (Lc 2,12). A conferma che Maria non sottovaluta i “segni” che Dio le offre.

The meeting between two mothers

La scena del vangelo raccorda le due “annunciazioni”, ad Elisabetta e a Maria: due donne e due promesse. E non appena sente il saluto di Maria, il bimbo in grembo di Elisabetta comincia a “danzare”.

Il Messia Gesù, non ancora nato ma presente nel grembo della madre Maria, incontra il precursore, profeta presente egli pure nel grembo della madre Elisabetta e, riconosciuto, causa la gioia, l’esultanza, la danza, come quella di David davanti all’arca della presenza del Signore (cf. 2Sam 6,12-15).

From praise to service

And the song of praise, the Magnificat, which narrates the reversal of human logic, where the last become first, does not remain a dead letter, but comes to life in service.

Prayer of Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Mary, solicitous Mother in the Visitation,
teach us to listen to the Word,
a listening that makes us jump and, quickly,
it directs us towards all situations of poverty
dove è necessaria la presenza del Figlio tuo.

Insegnaci a portare Gesù,
silently and humbly, as You did!
Our fraternities (families) are in the middle
to those who don't know him
to spread His Gospel
witnessing it not with words but with life;
not announcing it but living it!

Teach us to travel simply
as you did,
con lo sguardo sempre fisso su Gesù
present in your womb:
contemplating it, adoring it and imitating it.

Mary, woman of the Magnificat,
teach us to be faithful to our mission:
portare Gesù alla gente!

O beloved Mother, it is your own mission,
la prima che Gesù ti ha affidato
and that you have deigned to share with us.

Help us and intercede for us so that we do
what you did in the house of Zechariah:
glorificare Dio e santificare le persone in Gesù,
thanks to him and for him! Amen!

After the announcement of the Angel, Mary he travels"hastily", says the evangelist Luke (1,39) : “In those days Mary set out into the mountains and hurried to a city of Judah”, to visit his cousin Elizabeth and serve her.

Aggregandosi probabilmente ad una carovana di pellegrini che si recano a Gerusalemme, attraversa la Samaria e raggiunge Ain-Karim, in Giudea, dove abita la famiglia di Zaccaria. È facile immaginare quali sentimenti pervadano il suo animo alla meditazione del mistero annunciatole dall’angelo. Sono sentimenti di umile riconoscenza verso la grandezza e la bontà di Dio.

Maria magnifies the Gentleman that works in her: “L’anima mia magnifica il Signore ed il mio spirito esulta in Dio mio Salvatore” (Lc 1,46). Con queste parole Maria per prima cosa proclama i doni speciali a lei concessi, poi enumera i benefici universali con i quali Dio non cessò di provvedere al genere umano per l’eternità.

La presenza del Verbo incarnato in Maria è causa di grazia per Elisabetta che, ispirata, avverte i grandi misteri operanti nella giovane cugina, la sua dignità di Madre di Dio, la sua fede nella parola divina e la santificazione del precursore, che esulta di gioia nel seno della madre. Maria rimane presso Elisabetta fino alla nascita di John the Baptist, waiting, probably, another eight days for the naming ritual.

Accepting this calculation of the period spent with his cousin Elizabeth, the Feast of the Visitation, of Franciscan origin (the Friars Minor already celebrated it in 1263), was celebrated on 2 July, that is, at the end of Mary's visit. It would have been more logical to place its memory after 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation, but it was decided to avoid it falling within the Lenten period.

Fu poi Urbano VI (Bartolomeo Prignano, 1378-1389) ad estendere la festa a tutta la Chiesa latina per propiziare, con l’intercessione di Maria, la pace e l’unità dei cristiani divisi dal grande scisma d’Occidente.

The synod of Basel, in its session of 10 July 1441, confirmed the festivity of the Visitation, initially not accepted by the States that sided with the antipope.

Liturgical calendar

The current liturgical calendar, not taking into account the chronology suggested by the Gospel episode, has abandoned the traditional date of July 2 (in ancient times the Visitation was also commemorated on other dates) to fix its memory on the last day of May, as the crowning month that popular devotion consecrates to the particular cult of the Virgin.

"In the incarnation– commented St. Francis de Sales – Maria si umilia confessando di essere la serva del Signore…Ma Maria non si indugia ad umiliarsi davanti a Dio perché sa che carità e umiltà non sono perfette se non passano da Dio al prossimo. Non è possibile amare Dio che non vediamo, se non amiamo gli uomini che vediamo. Questa parte si compie nella Visitazione".

Visitazione Beata Vergine Maria
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2

source gospeloftheday.org


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