“...And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him...”(Luke 1:50)
July 2 is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Her cousin Elizabeth. This is a most significant event in the life of Our Lord, Our Lady, Her cousins Zachary and Elizabeth, and especially for St. John the Baptist.
The degree of significance is underlined by the fact that of all recorded biblical events it is one of the 15 important enough to have been rendered a place in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin — specifically, the second Joyful Mystery.
Here is some of what the great Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, had to say about Our Lady with respect to this feast day in his wonderful book, The Glories of Mary:
- “Happy is the house which the Mother of God visits...
As soon as Our Lady, Who was carrying the Christ child in Her womb, arrived
and greeted Her cousin, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; St. John
[who was in the womb of Elizabeth], was cleansed from Original Sin and sanctified,
expressing his joy and manifesting the grace he had received by leaping in
the womb of his mother.”
- St. Alphonsus says “now if these first-fruits of Redemption passed through
Mary as the channel through which grace was communicated to John the Baptist,
the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary and so many other
blessings to the whole house, the first graces that to our knowledge the Eternal
Word had granted on earth after His Incarnation, it is quite correct to believe
that from then on God made Mary the universal channel, as She is called by St.
Bernard, through which all the other graces that Our Lord is pleased to dispense
to us should pass.
- “...Fortunate is the soul that is visited by the Queen of the world,
the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Who cannot but fill with riches and graces those
blessed souls whom She deigns to visit by Her favors.
- “Mary is the Treasurer of all Divine Graces; therefore, whoever desires
Graces must have recourse to Mary; and he who has recourse to Mary may be sure
of obtaining the Graces that he desires.”
After greeting Her cousin, Our Lady, in response to Elizabeth’s words of high praise to Mary, offers the words which over the centuries have been repeated and prayed daily by priests and religious as well as the laity. The name given to these words of praise and prayer are now known as The Magnificat.
In offering these words the Mother of Our Redeemer takes the praise given Her by Elizabeth and does not keep Her cousin’s praise as Her own but instead She immediately gives this praise (and all praise) to Almighty God. These words are recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke (1:46-55).
The great Marian Saint, Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, in his book True
Devotion to Mary, recommends that Catholics say this prayer, The
after receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion.
Epistle and Gospel for July 2