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Feast of the Visitation of Mary

Today is the Feast of the Visitation. Each year I marvel at how the day’s Scriptures surprise and challenge me. This year is no different. However, this year I decided to prepare for this feast day in a way I never have before.
Almost two months ago, on April 8, the feast of the Annunciation, I gathered for Mass with my colleagues here at the RENEW office in Plainfield, NJ. We talked about how Mary, in addition to saying “Yes” to God, also took an immediate action and set out to visit Elizabeth. In our faith sharing we discussed how Mary received a sign from God when the angel told her that Elizabeth was pregnant. Mary did not ask for a sign, nor did she need one, before committing herself to God. Nevertheless, it was an opportunity for her to reach out to assist her kinswoman. Her action was inspired by her faith.
Although I already have a devotion to Mary, I decided to find ways in the weeks leading up to the feast of the Visitation to recommit myself to Mary and to seek new ways in which she could lead me to her son, Jesus. When the feast of the Visitation arrived, I wanted to be ready to recognize and welcome Jesus as Elizabeth did.
Through prayerful meditation on the Scriptures and the mysteries of the rosary I became more attentive to the role that waiting plays in our faith. I learned that patience, in the form of waiting, is not passive. In these few short weeks, I “waited” in various emotional states—anxiety about test results, sadness in the anticipation of the anniversary of the death of a dear friend, and excitement as I looked forward to my son’s wedding. I found that I was challenged to find ways to “wait” with others. How could I, whether at home, in the office, or with friends, find ways to ease the suffering or join in the joy of “waiting” with others?
Although it would have been faster to “set out” with text messages, phone calls or emails, I decided on “snail mail” and wrote cards and notes to various people who were “waiting” in various circumstances. I sent notes to my friend and her daughter as the anniversary of the death of their husband and father approached. I sent a card of encouragement to a friend dealing with the care of aging parents. I sent notes of congratulations to recent graduates, and a card with a scripture quote to lend inspiration to someone searching for a job.
Preparation for today’s feast of the Visitation blessed me with the gift of a deepened faith and trust in the Lord’s presence. I made my way toward today “waiting” for Mary and Jesus to greet me yet again. I disposed my heart to be open to the surprise this visit would hold for me.
So today, filled with a sense of wonder at the presence of the Lord and the gift of faith, I ask myself, “To whom shall I go? What action am I called to take to carry the Lord to another?”
– How did the Lord visit you today? What action are you called to take to carry the Lord to another? Please share your ‘visitation’ with the Lord by posting a comment below.
Dr. Laura Kolmar is Director of Pastoral Services at RENEW International, and has worked in parish social ministry, workshop and retreat leadership, and pastoral care and counseling.

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