Since I was a little girl, my favorite Mystery of the Rosary has been the Visitation. I love reflecting on this mystery. I love thinking about Mary making haste to visit Elizabeth. I love imagining their embrace when they finally meet. I find myself tearing up at the greeting Elizabeth gives Mary, “And how could this happen to me? That the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And the great proclamation from Mary: her prophetic Magnificat speaking of God’s greatness, God’s mercy, and how the Lord is visiting his people!
I think what strikes me so much is how desperately I want this type of interaction in my own life when I visit family or friends. I want to greet others with this type of joy or amazement but so often I fail. In my ministry, especially at Mass, I try to facilitate in our space the greeting Mary and Elizabeth share. I stand by the door in the baptismal lobby and try to greet the “Mary’s” walking through with Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and recognition of the in-stirring of Emmanuel with them. Time and again I fail.
I recognize how often as women especially, we tear each other down. I know my own heart fails to reach out to other women and embrace the goodness and divine in them. I’m so grateful for the examples of women in my life who lift up and embrace and encourage others. I’m grateful for Mary and Elizabeth and I’m also grateful for those I’ve met who follow in their footsteps. I think of my friend Brenda who greets me always with a compliment, with an uplifting and encouraging word. I think of Farhiya who I’ve witnessed turn to every woman she meets with a smile, hug and laughter that makes my heart sing.
I am grateful for the Mary’s and Elizabeth’s in my life who challenge and encourage me to visit other women with love, respect, and honor. And I pray that this Advent might be a time for us to grow in grace so we all might welcome and experience the divine in one another as Mary and Elizabeth model for us!