31 May 2017
Feast of the Visitation
On this Feast of the Visitation, we celebrate (among many other things) the idea of sharing faith. And this isn’t so much in the evangelical sense of “spreading the gospel,” but in the sense of believers sharing stories among themselves of how the Lord has been present to them. As we know, both Elizabeth and Mary had impossible things happen to (and through) them. Wonderful things. And it’s quite natural that they wanted to share that with each other.
But sharing the faith, talking about the “wonders God has done for us,” isn’t just natural, it’s also a supernatural activity. The Holy Spirit compels us to seek out others who are “in the same boat.” The Spirit inspires believers to come together, and to share faith among themselves. Elizabeth and Mary aren’t just two women getting together; they’re two believers who are being a little community of faith. (And, of course, Jesus and John are there too!)
We refer to Mary as the Mother of the Church, and we can see why. Even from before Pentecost, even from before the Incarnation, Mary was “being” the Church—the community of faith with Christ inside herself—with her cousin Elizabeth. The community of faith that desires to share that faith within itself in order to build it up begins with Mary, our Blessed Mother.
If Pentecost is the “birth of the Church,” perhaps this Feast of the Visitation is like the “conception of the Church.” The Church is conceived in the sharing of faith. And we are strengthened whenever we share the “wonders God has done for us.”