In this month of the Rosary, take a moment to reflect on the Second Joyful Mystery.
Virgin sweet, with love o’erflowing,
To the hills in haste she fares;
On a kindred heart bestowing
Blessing from the joy she bears;
Waiting while with mystic showing
Time the sacred birth prepares.” ~from the 15th-century hymn “Portal of the World’s Salvation”
Plato, the renowned philosopher of ancient Greece, was perhaps the first to articulate that goodness, by its nature, is diffusive of itself. Goodness, in any thing which is really good, is shared, never hoarded. Think of how difficult it is to keep good news a secret. It bubbles up, practically spilling out of us. Good things must be shared.
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:39-45)
The mystery of Christ’s own incarnation, the Word made flesh and splendor of the Father, is the greatest good the world had seen. When the original harmony of creation was shattered by sin, and humanity reduced to a fallen state, God worked an even greater act still. This Good News, this heart of the Gospel message, cannot be kept under a bushel basket.
The Virgin Mary is filled with God. She carries the Incarnate Word in her womb and the grace of the Holy Spirit in her heart, putting her life at the service of the Father’s plan.
Venerable Bede writes, “She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.”
The Spirit of the Lord descended upon her and she bore in her body the Lord.
The glory of heaven begins a new journey on Earth. Just as David danced before the Ark of old, John the Baptist leaps before the New Ark of the Covenant. The promises of the Father are now being spoken of, carried out, and shared. Those who follow the commands of the Lord, allowing their lives to follow the direction of Christ, to be led to new horizons: these can rejoice as Mary did.
Praying the Rosary makes present the Visitation. The Virgin, who first shared the news of the Annunciation visits our souls. There, in the depths of our hearts—in the place where she is united to us as she once was Elizabeth—we who belong to this sacred family of faith, can join in her exultant hymn of praise.
The first mystery is here.
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