Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blessed Are You Who Believed

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By Melanie Rigney

The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. (Zephaniah 3: 17)

I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. (Isaiah 12:2)

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Luke 1:41-49)


Lord, thank you for the gift of those in my life who help me recognize the awesome blessings you provide.


Sometimes, we trust because our faith is strong, and sometimes, we trust because we see no alternative, we lack the ability to grasp God’s great love and gifts. Perhaps there was some of that when the angel visited Mary and told her she would bear the Son of God. Let it be done to me, she said.

Sometimes, that trust turns into something so much more beautiful—belief—thanks to God working through more tangible means, such as people we know and love. Perhaps there was some of that in Hebron on that day when Mary arrived to attend to Elizabeth, her elderly relative. Imagine Mary’s relief and joy when instead of castigating the young woman for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Elizabeth thanks to the Holy Spirit recognized the situation for what it was and gave thanks.

No longer is Mary the passive, concerned girl of the Annunciation. She’s done with questions about how and why. Rather, she pours forth the beautiful prayer of praise we know as the Magnificat.

Was Mary transformed when she saw Elizabeth? Perhaps that’s an overstatement, as she could have said no to the angel and sent him on his way. Her faith in God was always there. But her appreciation for the unique, world-changing role she would assume, it would seem, blossomed with Elizabeth’s words. May we all be receptive to the same humility and appreciation when the Holy Spirit works through our family, friends, and acquaintances to make us aware of the great things the Almighty has done for us.


Listen to a musical version of the Magnificat, or spread some time in solitude with the prayer. Contemplate the ways in which the Lord has shown you favor that you tend to discount or dismiss.

No comments: