Mary visited Elizabeth

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash

This feast of the Visitation always makes powerful connections for me.

It’s one thing for God to ask Mary to be the mother of our Lord. That’s miraculous, of course, but we’ve heard the story so many times that we become a bit immune to the wonder of it.

But here we have Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, recognizing this wonder in a very real sense.

In a loud voice [Elizabeth] exclaimed, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

Luke 1:42
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The Annunciation

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Today we’re celebrating that God came to us in the form of his Son, Jesus the Christ.

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38
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Presentation of our Lord

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord.

Luke 2:22

Today I am reminded that Jesus Christ was a living, breathing person. Starting as a baby, later blossoming into our guide, prophet, model, and savior.

Perhaps that gives me hope for my own life, right? Because there sure are days when I feel hope is a far stretch.

The Holy Family

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Catholics tend to focus so much on Jesus and Mary that we forget the holiness of the family unit. But in fact, the family is the foundation of the Church and society at large.

It breaks my heart to see the diminishing of families through divorce and avoiding children. It feels like we’re destroying the purpose of being human.

So today we celebrate the Holy Family, and indeed, all families.

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Our Lady of Loreto

I never knew that much about Our Lady of Loreto, so it was fascinating to learn about this new celebration just recently announced by Pope Francis. Squeezed in between the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12), I’m getting the feeling that this first half of Advent is trying to remind us of the amazing role of Mary in our redemption.

It’s a pretty amazing story.

In the early church, people revered the house in which Mary was raised. It’s believed to be where she gave her fiat to Jesus’ conception, then lived with Joseph.

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Mary’s Assumption

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Today we remember and celebrate the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. Such a powerful and hope-filled doctrine of our faith!

This is when Mary, body and soul, was conveyed into heaven at the conclusion of her earthly journey. Yet it’s never mentioned directly in the Bible.

19 God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

1 A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
5 She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Rev 11:19a; 12:1, 5, 10ab
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