Saturday, May 29, 2010

Feast of the Visitation

Monday, May 31, 2010 is the Feast of the Visitation and my Mom's birthday!

The Visitation is the day on which the Blessed Virgin Mary, having been told at the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to bear the Son of God, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who herself was pregnant with John the Baptist. It is the 2nd of the Joyful Mysteries.

The scene is beautiful: As Mary greets her cousin, the baby leaps in Elizabeth's womb, and Elizabeth cries out in the words that make up the second sentence of the Hail Mary (from Luke 1:42):
"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!" 
Mary, overflowing with joy herself, responds with the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), a wondrous canticle extolling the greatness of God and thanking Him for the favor He has shown her.

The Magnificat became part of the official evening prayer of the Catholic Church.
What better way to remind ourselves on this feast -- and every day -- of the joy of the Blessed Virgin in bearing our Savior.

Details and Definitions:

Canticle: A Biblical Hymn

Annunciation - the angel Gabriel's appearance to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38), his announcement that the Blessed Virgin had been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord, and Mary's fiat—her willing acceptance of God's holy plan.

Hail Mary - Elizabeth's greeting to Mary in Luke 1:42 and the name of the central prayer of the rosary.

The first half of the Hail Mary is straight out of the Bible. The part before the semicolon is the angel Gabriel's greeting to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, when he told her that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:28). And the words after the semicolon were uttered by St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin, when St. Mary came to visit her and St. Elizabeth felt St. John the Baptist leap in her womb (Luke 1:42).
The Hail Mary
"Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
The Magnificat - the canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55)
The Magnificat is a canticle—a hymn taken from the Bible. When the angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation,  he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was also with child. Mary went to see her cousin (the Visitation), and the baby in Elizabeth's womb—John the Baptist—leapt with joy when Elizabeth heard Mary's voice.
The Magnificat  (Luke 1:46-55) is the Virgin Mary's response to Elizabeth's greeting, glorifying God and thanking Him for choosing her to bear His Son.

The Rosary - The rosary is a devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary. 
It consists of a set number of specific prayers. First are the introductory prayers: one Apostles’ Creed (Credo), one Our Father (the Pater Noster or the Lord’s Prayer), three Hail Mary’s (Ave’s), one Glory Be (Gloria Patri). 
Many Protestants now say the rosary, recognizing it as a truly biblical form of prayer—after all, the prayers that comprise it come mainly from the Bible.  

NAB - New American Bible
About Catholicism - Annunciation
Top graphic: Jacopo Pontormo

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

Happy birthday to your mom!

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