In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
The Visitation by Tamasha
The first time Mary and Elizabeth see each other after learning that they are both pregnant is simply referred to as The Visitation. It conjures a common memory in readers about a time when they’ve been reunited with a loved one after something notable has occurred in the lives of one or both of them. (My highly-excitable Aunt Joanie whoops and hollers whenever she sees someone that she hasn’t seen in a few months, life circumstances notwithstanding, so I get it!) So it’s not surprising that Elizabeth was delighted to see that Mary had come to visit, and although we don’t know what greeting Mary gave upon seeing her cousin, we do know the immediate effect of her words. The baby Elizabeth carried in her womb, the boy who would become John the Baptist, had cause to “leap in [her] womb for joy” at the very sound of Mary’s voice. Not physically born into the world yet, The Messiah by his very presence, still inside of Mary, cleanses Elizabeth’s child of sin, filling him with Divine Grace, and filling Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit.
I can remember with each of my pregnancies, my babies would immediately begin moving upon hearing my husband’s voice. How amazing it was to feel each child respond to him in that way! Those memories and this passage are reminders to me that we are absolutely wired from the very beginning to receive grace.
It’s also a reminder that our Lord speaks to us through other people and uses them as vessels of His message. Maybe that’s through an act of kindness, a smile, a compliment, an acknowledgement… Don’t we all, then, have the power to touch another’s spirit and bring them joy?
Think about the last time your own spirit was moved… moved to the point that your body had a physical reaction. Did you hear a song, or witness an event, or dial in to a sermon, or was it something else? What exactly was it that moved you, and why did it speak to your spirit so intensely? How can you make that happen in another person?