I have been ruminating on how best to observe the Feast of the Visitation today for the past couple weeks. The Visitation is a day in which we remember The Blessed Virgin Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth just after the Annunciation. Both women, the young girl who is very poor and not yet married, and the older cousin who thought she was well past child bearing years, come together in wonder, trepidation and joy early on in their unexpected pregnancies. It is through this meeting that we first hear those words ‘blessed is the fruit of thy womb’ from St. Elizabeth that would later set the foundation of the rosary prayer, and Mary’s response, the beloved Magnificat.
This moment in the story of Christ’s life — when he still just a spark not yet born — is a sweet, intimate occassion, but one that it can be hard to figure out how to celebrate. There is no ‘visitation cake.’ There’s no craft, no big tradition that we can look toward to figure out how to celebrate this feast in our family.
Pondering this, I realized that this day, the Feast of the Visitation, is a day for relationships. Just as Mary and Elizabeth were able to come together on that long-ago day and share their hopes and fears and open up their hearts to each other, I think this is the perfect time to do just that in my own life on this special day.
Always a firm believer that celebrating the liturgical year doesn’t mean we need to continually pull out all the stops, I am now declaring that the Visitation is the day to have a cup of coffee and catch up with a good friend. Or perhaps a good day to drop off some surprise essentials to a mama with a newborn like dry shampoo, nursing pads, and a bar of good chocolate. It might also entail thinking of an eldery neighbor, maybe watering her flowers or just stopping by for a chat like I’ve been meaning to do for ages.
These ideas might seem incredibly basic. But I’ve come to find out that they are also so important for our relationships. In this day of instant messages and facebook feeds, we can often relegate our contact with those we love to electronic means. Even though the internet has made us all incredibly connected, it can also leave us incredibly lonely for real human contact.
Not long ago I was very sick, and a friend would occasionally text me to check in on me. I assured her that I had antibiotics and would feel better soon, but was struggling. By that evening, she had loaded all her children up in her van and dropped off a beautiful dish full of bath salts with essential oils added, instructing me to take a bath with these salts to relax and heal.
That little act of kindness took place in only about 5 minutes — she didn’t even have to unload the kids from the van. But the moment she took to check on me and take care of me was so meaningful, a little modern day visitation.
And so this is what I challenge myself, and you too, if you choose to also accept the challenge. Show someone you love and care for that you are thinking of them and make time for them today. Let your soul magnify the Lord. And go out into the world, and share it.
Grow Christians wants to hear from you. What relationship will you nurture today?