Easter: May 31st
And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country
with haste, into a city of Juda. [Lk. 1:39]
How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's
description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and
kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying
over the hills. "Those days," in which she rose on that impulse
were the days, in which Christ was being formed in her, the
impulse was his impulse.
Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry
over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they
had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child, which came
before anything or anyone else.
The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going
to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she
could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but
characteristic of her.
She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice,
John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.
I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it
more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born, His
presence gave life.
With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ
unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and
then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his
mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.
How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady?
What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar
to her was the mother of her God?
She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into
life, which was a leap of joy.
If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our
Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.
If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected,
because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be,
from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in
haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us because we believe
that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are
driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.
And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be
an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already
wakened life within them.
Excerpted from The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander