28 August 2011

Rosary Musings: the Second Joyful Mystery

The Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation

by Mariotto Albertinelli, from http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/visitation.htm
First for the Scripture from Luke 1:39-56, from the New Jerusalem Bible:
39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.
40 She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.
41 Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?
44 Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
45 Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
50 and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.
51 He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.
52 He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.
53 He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
54 He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love
55 -according to the promise he made to our ancestors -- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.
56 Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.

The first thing I notice is Elizabeth affirming Mary as the Theotokos by calling her "the Mother of my Lord".  Of course the geek in me also gravitates towards the "blessed among women" part, since my limited experience with Biblical Hebrew and Middle Egyptian have taught me that this is how superlatives were written in those languages.

I love the description of St John the Baptist leaping in the womb when he encounters Mary and Jesus.  My children often kicked at the Consecration during Mass, and I always thought of this passage when that happened.  I also love Mary's response of magnifying God through all this.  As I mentioned last week, Mary is always pointing to Jesus, which amazes me.  I wish I could say that my every action and word pointed to Jesus, but alas, that is not the case.  I've a lot to learn.

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