The feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the visit of Mary, the Mother of God, with the child Jesus in her womb, to her cousin Elizabeth. The visit took place when Elizabeth was herself six months’ pregnant with the forerunner of Christ, Saint John the Baptist. At the Annunciation of the Lord, the angel Gabriel, in response to Mary’s question “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” (Luke 1:34 ), had told her that “thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God” (Luke 1:36-27).
The evidence of her cousin’s own near-miraculous conception had called forth Mary’s fiat: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” It is thus appropriate that the very next action of the Blessed Virgin that Saint Luke the Evangelist records is Mary’s “making haste” to visit her cousin.
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Image: “The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth,” mosaic in the Church of Resurrection, St. Petersburg, Russia (photo by Pascal Deloche)