Monday, May 31, 2010

Feast Day of the Visitation of Mary

Today is the Feast Day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day that celebrates the day when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth--both women, miraculously pregnant.

This encounter has inspired centuries of art. Below is a picture of a Ukranian icon, that I downloaded from this Wikipedia site:

Below is a Western interpretation, a more medieval representation:

"Visitation", from Altarpiece of the Virgin (St Vaast Altarpiece) by Jacques Daret, c. 1435.(Staatliche Museen, Berlin.); downloaded from this Wikipedia site.

I find this encounter inspiring because of Mary's words (from the first chapter of Luke):

"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."
I love this promise of God's goodness, this focus on the poor and oppressed.

Here is a prayer for the day, from Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime:

"Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant all of us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen."

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