Feast of the Visitation: St Luke 1:39-47

Today is the feast of the Visitation, for which the text is the next section of St Luke chapter 1.

39 Exsurgens autem Maria in diebus illis, abiit in montana cum festinatione, in civitatem Juda: 40 et intravit in domum Zachariæ, et salutavit Elisabeth. 41 Et factum est, ut audivit salutationem Mariæ Elisabeth, exsultavit infans in utero ejus: et repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth: 42 et exclamavit voce magna, et dixit: Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus fructus ventris tui. 43 Et unde hoc mihi, ut veniat mater Domini mei ad me? 44 Ecce enim ut facta est vox salutationis tuæ in auribus meis, exsultavit in gaudio infans in utero meo. 45 Et beata, quæ credidisti, quoniam perficientur ea, quæ dicta sunt tibi a Domino.46 Et ait Maria: Magnificat anima mea Dominum: 47 et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.

 [39] And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. [40] And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. [41] And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: [42] And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. [43] And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.46] And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 

Matins readings (St Ambrose)

(Reading 9): We must here consider that the greater cometh unto the lesser, Mary unto Elizabeth, Christ unto John. And again afterwards, to hallow the baptism of John, the Lord came unto him to be baptized. It was soon that the blessings of the coming of Mary and of the Presence of God were made manifest. Have regard here to the distinction made, and to the special weight of every word. Elizabeth was the first to hear the voice of Mary's salutation, but John was the first to receive grace. 

(Reading 10): She heard naturally, but he leaped mystically. She hailed the coming of Mary, he that of the Lord, Mary and Elizabeth spake words full of grace, but Jesus and John worked, and commenced their mystery of godliness from their mothers' beginnings, and so by twin miracles the mothers prophesied from the spirit of their unborn offspring. The babe leaped, and the mother was filled with the Holy Ghost. The mother was not filled before the son, but when the son was filled with the Holy Ghost, he filled his mother also.

(Reading 11): And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? That is to say, How cometh it to pass that so great a good should befall me, as that the Mother of my Lord should come to me I feel the miracle, I acknowledge the mystery the Mother of my Lord, pregnant with the Word, is full of God. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. It is meet to record how Mary showed this kindness, and abode this mystic number of months.

(Reading 12): She tarried long, not only for friendship's sake, but also for the good of the Great Prophet. For if the first coming of Mary so blessed him, that even as a babe in the womb he leapt for joy, and his mother was filled with the Holy Ghost, what blessedness must we not deem to have flowed upon him from so long neighbourhood of Mary. Thus was the Prophet anointed, and trained by exercise like a strong wrestler, in his mother's womb, for his sinews were being braced for a hard battle.

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