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Day 4: The Visitation

‘And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. (exsurgens autem Maria in diebus illis abiit in montana cum festinatione in civitatem Iuda)  And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. (et intravit in domum Zacchariae et salutavit Elisabeth)   And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  (et factum est ut audivit salutationem Mariae Elisabeth exultavit infans in utero eius et repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth)   And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (et exclamavit voce magna et dixit benedicta tu inter mulieres et benedictus fructus ventris tui)   And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  (et unde hoc mihi ut veniat mater Domini mei ad me)   For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. (ecce enim ut facta est vox salutationis tuae in auribus meis exultavit in gaudio infans in utero meo)   And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. (et beata quae credidit quoniam perficientur ea quae dicta sunt ei a Domino)   And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. (et ait Maria magnificat anima mea Dominum)    And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo)  – – Luke 1:39-47

Prayer:

We fly to Thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God; Despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

Reflection:

Mary carrying the Eternal Son of God in her womb, went with haste to visit her elderly relative, Elizabeth, and her husband, Zachary. The Angel Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth was also pregnant: And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. (et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua et ipsa concepit filium in senecta sua et hic mensis est sextus illi quae vocatur sterilis) Because no word shall be impossible with God. (quia non erit inpossibile apud Deum omne verbum) (Luke 1: 36-37).

St. Luke, it would seem, saw 2 Samuel 6, the Old Testament account of King David’s transfer of the Ark of the Covenant from the ‘from the hill country of Judah’ to Jerusalem, fulfilled in the Visitation account. St. Luke’s intention was to present Mary, making the journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, as the true Ark of the Covenant – the new dwelling place of God amongst His people.

Here are some points of comparison:

When Jewish people came into the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, they would let out a joyful shout, a certain ‘holy noise’ reserved exclusively to honor God’s presence in the Ark.

When Mary entered her kinswoman’s house and greeted her, Elizabeth ‘was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry.’ Elizabeth used almost the exact words that King David had used when he realized the significance of the Ark coming to his house: ‘And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’

Finally, whereas David danced and leaped before the old Ark of the Covenant, it was John the Baptist (in his mother’s womb) who danced and leaped before the presence of God in His new Ark of the Covenant, Mary!

This text casts brilliant light on the meaning of the Annunciation and Mary’s ‘fiat.’

Through Mary’s assent of faith to the word of the Angel, the Eternal Son of God came down from Heaven to dwell in her womb.

The Ark of the Covenant, constructed at God’s command by Moses and Aaron, is only a ‘type’ – a foreshadowing of Mary, the true dwelling place of God.

Elizabeth, Zachary, and the unborn John the Baptist are blessed by Jesus living in Mary. Elizabeth blessed Son and Mother three times: ‘Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.’

Prayer:

Almighty and Ever-Living God, the Virgin Mary is the new ‘Ark of the Covenant.’

During the nine months of her pregnancy, she carried Your Son-made-man in her virginal womb. From this ‘Royal Throne,’ Christ began to bring His people salvation.

After His birth, which did not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it, He continued to dwell in Mary through grace and charity with an unparalleled intensity.

Father, we beg Thee to send Mary to visit the United States, calling all to faith in Christ’s ‘Gospel of Life’ and conversion from sin.

May she help all to understand that her conception of Christ in Nazareth, and her wondrous childbirth in Bethlehem, point to the inviolable sanctity of every conception and birth. May she help those women who have had abortions to find God’s forgiveness and healing.

Father, turn the hearts of all advocates of contraception and abortion to Christ, the Lord of Life.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

N.B. This Novena prayer was taken from the religiousliberties.org website.

You can download a pdf version of the entire 28 page Novena at: religiousliberties.org/novena/novena%20book_820pm.pdf

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