Thursday, May 31, 2007

Revisiting the Visitation

It's always a special blessing to attend Mass at a parish celebrating its feast day, and celebrating the Feast of the Visitation this morning at Visitation was no exception.

Visitation isn't our proper Elmhurst parish boundary-wise, but due to their devotion to the Eucharist (spurred on by ten years of Perpetual Adoration), we have called it home for almost this long. Actually it is under two miles from the closer Church (Immaculate Conception) but at 6:15 in the morning, it often seems like ten ...

While "IC" is lucky to attract twenty-five people for an early weekday liturgy, Visitation oftentimes has three times that amount; today I would say about eighty. Unfortunately, as I slide into the side pew, I notice that the Missalette Police have already confiscated the May issue (those guys are obviously not daily massers) oblivious to the significance of their church's own feast day. However, their misguided diligence cannot destroy this Mass, for although the responsorial psalm may have been mumbled due to the missalettes being missing, I'm sure almost everyone in attendance knew today's gospel by heart.

After commending our beloved former pastor, Father Lane, for beautifying our once plain round modern church, especially his addition of the statue of the Visitation (besides Mary greeting Elizabeth and our "standard" statues of Mary, Joseph and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Father also added St. Therese, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Peregrine, plus an Infant of Prague statue on the way in), Father talked about how Luke 1:39-55 shows how Mary was the first disciple, as she was the first to bring Christ to others. And, as modern-day disciples, bringing Christ to others (with Our Lady's help of course) is now our role too.

But I would also reflect that this reading gives us more specific instructions as well. "From the moment your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb lept with joy" (Luke 1:44)—Mary and Elizabeth as the first pro-lifers; a verse to bring to all "believers" who justify abortion. "The almighty has done great things for me, holy is his name" (Luke 1:49)—Indeed, nearly the whole Magnificat should be brought to the attention of non-Marian Protestants, for no one can resist the intercession of Mary and the Communion of Saints after prayerful meditation on this passage. "He has shown might with his arm, and has scattered the proud in their innermost thoughts" (Luke 1:51)—a warning to all who try to run the Church like a business (especially those who remove church missals without concern for daily masses ... just kidding!).

Finally, on this last day of May, how fitting we end Mary's Month with a Marian feast, celebrating Her mission just beginning. For us fans of Vespers know, the Magnificat is recited daily as part of this ancient Catholic prayer, so just as every day (with two exceptions) is the celebration of Christ's Resurrection, every evening is the commemoration of Mary's Visitation, Her bringing of Christ to the world. May the Daily Bread give all of us the strength to do the same.

1 comment :

JimAroo said...

This feast is tied directly to March 25, the feast of the Assumption. Mary said then I am the handmaiden of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word. She receives Christ into her body and heart and immediately goes "in haste" to assist Elizabeth.

As Mary walked those 50 plus miles "to the hill country" (uphill), she was a living tabernacle that sanctified everything and everyone she met especially Elizabeth and John.

Mother Teresa said that this showed that Mary was the first Missionary of Charity. So when we receive Christ into our heart and body at Holy Communion we too are living tabernacles. We go as missionaries to the world bringing the Word of God to all we meet, sanctifying ourselves and the whole world.