Feast of the Visitation, by Father Médaille

detail of a stained glass representing the Visitation, date and artist unknown; Church of Saint Thomas, Excideuil, Dordogne, France; photographed on 2 March 2010 by Père Igor; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsThe Blessed Virgin shows deference to Saint Elizabeth: she honours her by her visit; without regard to the fact that she is the Mother of God, she goes to her cousin first, salutes her first, and pays respect to her with admirable humility. We have countless reasons for esteeming those with whom we associate: they are the servants and children of God; they are loaded with graces and favours from heaven. We know not ourselves what we are in God s sight. We ought to treat others with respect and deference, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin.

The Blessed Virgin manifests her love for Saint Elizabeth. She loved her naturally as her near relative; and this love, sanctified by supernatural charity, became stronger and more marked; it was further strengthened by their meeting, by the tokens of affection, and by the conversations of these two great Saints. Our faith, our calling, our hopes, Our Saviour’s wish, the command He has given us, all these oblige us to love one another. Let us, then, not fail in so pleasing a duty.

The Blessed Virgin gives proof of the wish to be of use to her relative, and she renders numberless services in her house. If, as opportunities arise, we help each other in our labours, our troubles, our sicknesses, we may say that we love one another; that is only a feeble friendship which is exhibited in compliments and empty show.

On What Our Lord Did at the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

As regards the Blessed Virgin, Our Saviour employs her as intermediary in cleansing Saint John from original sin, and loading his parents with graces and blessings. Jesus teaches us in so doing that the Blessed Virgin, His Mother, is the intercessory help of sinners, as well as the patroness of the just. Let us have recourse to her, that we may abandon sin and increase in virtue.

As regards Saint John, Christ not only purifies him from sin, but fills him with grace; He enlightens his understanding, strengthens his will, and fills his soul with unutterable joy. The holy precursor, while still in his mother’s womb, recognizes his God, adores Him, loves Him. When our Blessed Lord comes to us in the Eucharist, or by interior visiting, He produces similar effects, if we allow Him to do so. Whence comes it that we have profited by them so little?

As regards Saint Zachary and Saint Elizabeth, Jesus honoured them with His presence, filled them with grace, brought a blessing into their house; He set before them the example of humility, obedience, charity, devotion and piety, which His Holy Mother furnished. Let us profit by this example, and especially by the sentiments of humility, gratitude, and devotion which she manifested in her canticle: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” (Luke 1:46)