Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit."  Luke 1:40-41

Mary hastened her steps. Her destination was just around the corner.
The day the angel had come, had turned her life upside-down, he had also told her of her cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who was long past child-bearing age, had conceived a son!
Mary was full of joy. She traveled to Elizabeth. They needed each other, these women of miracles.

A joyful reunion. Elizabeth's baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth cried out, "Blessed are you among women!" Mary opened her mouth to respond, and poetry rushed forth. A canticle of praise: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!" The Life within her was changing everything, turning her very words to song.
Mary and Elizabeth had a wonderful visit. No one else could understand them the way they could one another. Angelic visits, miracle babies, God-dwelling-among-us - these were the common topics of their conversation.
Mary stayed three months. Elizabeth was not young and needed help preparing for the little one. At home, Joseph needed room to think, to plan, and to adjust/ For both women, their time together was a blessed time, a happy time.


After the angel leaves, Mary is left to think on the things he told her. One of these things was the very unexpected pregnancy of Elizabeth. Mary went to her, to help her, and to be with someone who could understand her. These were saints, yes, but they were also women. We like to be around people who can understand us, what we are going through, and how to support us. Pregnant women, especially those having their first child, often seek out other expecting women. Together, they can talk about the back-ache, the fatigue, the uncomfortableness of their bodies, of the joy and fear of new life, of all the mysteries unfolding within their very selves.
One question that stand out in all the small snippets of in the Bible is, where was Joseph?

We can only imagine.

Mary must have told him. She was honest, and he needed, deserved, to know. He could have accused her of adultery, but he was a very kind man. We are told in Matthew 1:19 that he decided to divorce her quietly, so no one would know her shame. What exactly did Mary say to him? What must he have thought?
Beginning with Matthew 1:20, we are told that angel appeared to Joseph and told him what had happened to Mary. Joseph believed, and "did as the angel angel of the Lord had commanded him" (v. 24). What joy Joseph must have felt to know his bride had been faithful to him, and faithful to God. What wonder, awe, and fear he must have known when contemplating caring for the son of God, and the woman who would bear him. What joy Mary must have had to know that Joseph believed, and would go through this with her.

Joseph and Mary had both been visited by an angel, and were able to share the wonder and awe of the direct intervention of God in their lives.

The Joyful Mysteries

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