July 24, 2016 -
"THE HOLY VIRGIN AND ST. ELIZABETH"
Saint Luke opens the door for us to an intimate visit of the Holy Virgin to her cousin Elizabeth. It is a rare and personal incident that is recorded by the Evangelist. Shortly after the Angel Gabriel announced to the Holy Virgin that she was to become the Mother of the Lord. Mary journeyed a considerable distance to visit Elizabeth, who was also with child, and her husband the Priest Zacharias. They lived in the hills of Judea.
The icon of the visitation captures the moment of salutation, as Mary and Elizabeth embrace in greeting one another. Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and speaks of her kinswoman as “blessed among women,” calling her “the Mother of my Lord.” The Holy Virgin responds with the well-known hymn of praise which begins “My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed . . .
The Holy Bible provides the basis for the Church’s giving the Holy Virgin a special place among the saints of God and the creatures of earth. This special veneration and esteem is given precisely because of her relationship to the Person of Jesus Christ: she is Mother and Birthgiver. The Church always approaches her with this relationship in mind; the Church honors the mother because of the Son.