In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Here is an anecdote from Pope Francis’ personal devotion to Mary that helps this feast of the Visitation come alive. While studying in Germany many years ago, then-Father Bergoglio found a painting which shows an image of “Mary who unties knots.” In the painting Mary looks determined to untie a number of big and small knots in a ribbon that is handed to her by an angel. A second angel then returns to earth the now-untied ribbon.
Of this image, painted in 1700, Bergoglio wrote some years ago: “All of us have knots in our hearts and all of us go through difficult times. Our good Lord who bestows grace on all his children wants us to have faith in Mary; he wants us to entrust to her the knots of our miseries which prevent us from reaching God, so that she can untie them and bring us closer to Jesus.”
This feast of Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, you and I might pray over the “knots” of our own hearts. Which of these can I entrust today to Mary’s grace and care? In your prayer today, which of these “knots” do I invite her to untie? Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.
Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.
Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity. Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.