May 31 (Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)

One of the greatest violinists of all time was Niccolo Paganini.

He had his first performance at the age of 11.

>> It is said that his great technical ability revolutionized violin techniques across Europe.

When he died in 1840, he had willed his violin to Genoa, Italy – the place of his birth.

But he had it done on a condition: that no artist ever plays his instrument again.

Glad to have the violin come into their possession, the people in the city of Genoa agreed to the request, and they put it in a beautiful case for everyone to see.

But, unfortunately, wooden violins have a certain peculiarity:

>> As long as they are handled, they show no wear…

… But if it remains unused, it begins to decay!

This is what happened to Paganini’s violin.

>> His once-exquisite instrument became worm-eaten and useless.

Wooden violins of other artists have been handed down from one gifted musician to another…

…. and they continue to bring great music to audiences.

>> But Paganini’s violin is a crumbling relic of what it once was!

Such will also be the case with a Christian…

… If one does not spend one’s life in service!

A Christian’s “unwillingness to serve” may soon destroy one’s capacity for usefulness!

Today, is the Feast of the Visitation…

… A beautiful incident of how Blessed Mother Mary became a person, who rendered Her life “in service” to God and others – and thus gave full bloom to the graces of God within Her!

Visitation, from Altarpiece of the Virgin (St Vaast Altarpiece) by Jacques Daret c. 1434 – 1435. Staatliche Museen, Berlin

This Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother has its origin in the medieval times.

>> It was observed by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its practice spread throughout the entire Church.

>> Previously it was celebrated on July 2….

… now it is celebrated on 31st May – between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord ( Mar 25) and the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Jun 24) , in conformity with the Gospel accounts.

One of the interesting term used by St Luke in his description of this incident (Lk 1: 39-56) is the word “HASTE”.

>> St Luke says: “In those days, Mary arose and went with HASTE…..” (Lk 1: 39)

The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and announced the Good News that She was to be the Mother of the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 31)

>> Mary was “overshadowed by the Power of the Most High” (Lk 1: 35)

>> The Angel had also pointed to the mighty work that was done in the life of her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1: 36)

The Annunciation became the turning point in the life of Mary!

She was no longer the same…

… The simple girl had been exalted and chosen to be the Mother of the Most High God!

… She would no longer be seeking to do her desires; She would seek to God’s Will at all times!

… Her life would no longer be carried by her plans; Her life would be impelled by what God wanted!

The Child in Her, would now make Her to be “always in haste”!

… In haste: to serve others

… In haste: to follow perfectly the Will of God

… In haste: to have Jesus as the centre of Her life

The Holy Spirit completely possessed the Virgin Daughter of Nazareth and impelled her to act.

The beautiful incident of the Visitation of Mother Mary teaches us this beautiful lesson:

When Christ grows inside of us, we will be in HASTE….

… to reach out to others in service

… to spare no efforts to get out of our own comfort zones of pleasure, relaxing and lethargy

… to forget one’s own needs and be totally other-centred and radiate joy and hope to others

Mother Mary becomes the “Woman on the move” – on a continual and constant journey:

… She would embark on an hard trip to Bethlehem, while pregnant (Lk 2:4)

… She would again move – after the birth of the Child – along with Joseph, and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:14)

… She would return back to Nazareth, under the instruction of the Angel of God (Mt 2:23)

… She would further travel to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and there would go in search of Her Beloved Child, when He was lost (Lk 2: 45)

.. She would be travelling with Jesus in His ministry – may not be physically, but Her Heart and Soul completely accompanying Her Son

… She would, finally, even accompany physically, with Her Innocent Child on the Way of the Cross (Jn 19: 25)

Mother Mary lived the words of the poem which centuries later would be formulated by another great Saint – St Francis of Assisi:

“It is in giving that we receive…

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life…”

The Feast of the Visitation is a reminder for us examine some of the important aspects of our life…

… Am I a person allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and take complete possession of me – my words, my thoughts, my actions?

… Am I a person, having Jesus in me, impelled to reach out to the other in service? As St Paul says: “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14)

… Am I a person, who is daring to be a “person on the move” – moving out of my safe comfortable zones, moving out of conditioned and prejudiced mindsets, moving out to make my life of praise and honour to God?

St Ambrose says: “Delayed efforts are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit”

Charity is never idle!

>> Charity is always on the move …

… Sensitive to the needy

… Seeking to do good

May the Graces of God in us, not get stagnant, or decayed or rusted …

… instead may they be extended in loving service to God and His people…

And thus our life be a beautiful Magnificat: “My Soul magnifies the Lord my God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary – the Mother Who moves us, constantly…towards Jesus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It was the two virtues of charity and humility which motivated Mary, and made her leave her little Nazareth…

… for charity is never Idle

>> It burns in the hearts where it dwells and reigns, and the Most Blessed Virgin was full of it, because She bore Love Itself in Her Womb.

She made continual acts of love, not only for God…

… She also loved Her neighbor in a most perfect degree…

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