“Allowing the Graces of God to be extended in humility and loving service to God and His people!”
(Based on the Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)
A little boy, who was reading the life story of St Joseph…
… came to his father and asked an innocent question: “Daddy, did not St Joseph accompany Mother Mary, when she went to visit Elizabeth?”
Daddy was pretty much surprised at this question…
… and had, in fact, never thought about it even!
Of course, he knew that the Gospels certainly do not mention about St Joseph accompanying Mary in her visitation.
But with a little deeper thought, he went on to tell his son, “Child, of course, the Gospels do not mention that St Joseph physically accompanied Mother Mary.
But your question has made me feel with a great certainty, that spiritually and mentally, St Joseph would have surely accompanied Mother Mary in that act of service and humility!”
In this Year of St Joseph, as we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, we reflect on this Great Feast, from the perspective of some of the virtues that are greatly celebrated in the life of St Joseph.
The Gospels present the powerful imagery of St Joseph, as being “a righteous man” and…
… one who willing to undergo any struggle in order to fulfil the Will of God
This excellent virtue propelled St Joseph to become “a person of humility and service”
… Being Humble: Before God
… Being in Service: To others
This Feast of the Visitation also celebrates these two great virtues in the life of our Blessed Mother.
Today, on the Feast Day, we contemplate through this beautiful incident on how…
… Blessed Mother Mary rendered Her life “in humility and service” to God and others – and thus allowed the graces of God to bloom within Her!
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 – along with Mother Mary and St Joseph – on 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
St Francis de Sales beautifully says: “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 neighbour in a most perfect degree…”
Mother Mary and St Joseph remind us today, that the Graces of God in us ought not to get stagnant…
… instead they need to be extended in loving service to God and His people…
And thus our life should be a beautiful Magnificat that sings: “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!
Heavenly Intercessions of St Joseph, who also inspires us to live in humility and service!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST – THE LORD
In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, is rendered as Kyrios, “Lord”
From then on, “Lord” becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel’s God.
The New Testament uses this full sense of the title “Lord” both for the Father and – what is new – for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself.
Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110…
… but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles.
Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.
At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.