VISITING HOURS

“Be not discouraged!” —Zephaniah 3:16

Recently, I was hospitalized for a short time. No one knew I was in the hospital, as I had no time to call people to pass the word. Naturally, I had no visitors during that brief stay. I could easily relate to Elizabeth’s experience on the day that Mary visited her. Elizabeth had gone into seclusion for five months (Lk 1:24), implying that she had no visitors in that interval. She couldn’t have expected Mary to visit, since to her knowledge Mary was not aware she was pregnant. God directly informed Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and put it in Mary’s heart to visit her (Lk 1:39ff).

This means that the feast of the Visitation of Mary is a great sign of hope. When we need a visitor, let us ask God to send Mary to us, even if no one else is aware that we need encouragement (see Zep 3:16). When we seclude ourselves from others, Mary is not subject to our visiting restrictions. She is favored by God (Lk 1:30) with inside information on our condition. She has a motherly heart for us that loves its way into our life. She can’t stop from being concerned about her discouraged, suffering child.

Is there any way to keep a mother from visiting her beloved child? No, we can’t keep Mary out of our lives. She loves us too much. Our decision is whether or not to welcome her. Mary was rejected by the innkeepers in Bethlehem (Lk 2:7), and is still rejected by some Christians today. “Open wide your hearts” (2 Cor 6:13) to the mother of Jesus. Let Mary visit and love you.

PRAYER: Jesus, may I love and welcome Mary as You do.
PROMISE: “You have no further misfortune to fear.” –Zep 3:15
PRAISE: The Blessed Virgin Mary did not keep the Good News to herself but shared her Son with her cousin and us. This act of kindness helped release the power of the Holy Spirit into the world.

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