Saturday of the Third Week of Advent - 21st December
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.
She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.
Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?
Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'
These last few Gospel passages have reminded me very wonderfully of the Hail Mary. We have already heard of the Annunciation, the greeting given to the Blessed Mother by the angel: Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. At the Visitation, the greeting of Mary by Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit: Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God. It is a prayer so deeply rooted in Scripture, we evoke words spoken centuries ago but they hold as much meaning today as they did then. Finally, we have the petition we make to her: pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. The Blessed Mother is with her son for eternity, Queen of Heaven, interceding for us.
Advent Advantage: Meditate on the Hail Mary, and offer a rosary today for the souls of those who have died.