Thursday, May 31, 2012

Feast of the Visitation

A beautiful painting of the Visitation in the parish church at Gharb, Gozo, (Malta)

The month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Mother ends with another feast of Mary, precisely her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. It was also the first encounter between Jesus and John the Baptist, even though they were still in their mothers’ respective wombs. As was customary, the younger woman would visit the older one and Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months, helping her with chores, while chatting and praying over their upcoming blessed event. Who knows what they talked about....asking questions that any prospective mother would ask another mother....”What are you gonna name the baby? he kicking yet? the crib ready? many more weeks for the delivery?........”

The scene of the Visitation from Franco Zeffirelli's 1976 movie "Jesus of Nazareth."
This feast also encourages us to focus on the spirit of visits. People visit each other frequently, as families vacation and go on holidays while stopping at homes and places where they know they would be welcome. How hospitable are we to guests who stop by to visit us? How gracious are we when we visit friends? Do we check to see if we are imposing on them? How about visiting elderly people, like grandparents, uncles and aunts who may be very lonely? Do we set a good example when friends visit us? Do we invite them to attend church with us on a weekend, or are we embarrassed to take them to Mass with us? You may be surprised how honored they would feel when you introduce them to the church and parish community? I can tell you that this is how most converts are made, when they visit a church and get ‘hooked’ by something special they see, a message in the homily, or any other event that may seem insignificant for you, but not for your friends and guests.

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