The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
In the days that followed, Mary rose up and went with all haste to a town of Juda, in the hill country where Zachary dwelt; and there entering in she gave Elizabeth greeting. No sooner had Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, than the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Ghost; so that she cried out with a loud voice, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. How have I deserved to be thus visited by the mother of my Lord? Why, as soon as ever the voice of thy greeting sounded in my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfilment.
And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord; my spirit has found joy in God, who is my Saviour, because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid. Behold, from this day forward all generations will count me blessed; because he who is mighty, he whose name is holy, has wrought for me his wonders. He has mercy upon those who fear him, from generation to generation; he has done valiantly with the strength of his arm, driving the proud astray in the conceit of their hearts; he has put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has protected his servant Israel, keeping his merciful design in remembrance, according to the promise which he made to our forefathers, Abraham and his posterity for evermore. Mary returned home when she had been with her about three months - Luke 1:39-56
The Meaning of the Mystery
We are all called to be bearers of Christ, to carry Him within us to care for the needs of those around us. Mary was, quite arguably, the most important woman in human history. She was given a task few of us can dare to imagine, to be the mother of the Savior of humanity. Yet in spite of the importance and honor this role imparted to her she did not hesitate to go and to serve someone else. She knew her cousin Elizabeth was an elderly woman and would need help to endure the rigors of pregnancy. The moment that she heard of her cousin’s good news, she thought only of going to her and serving her.
This was not without risk. She could have been stoned for being found pregnant, and her cousin’s husband was the high priest that year. It would be his duty to put her to death if it were proven that she had been unfaithful to her betrothed, Joseph. Yet in spite of the risks, in spite of the discomfort she may have endured in these early stages of pregnancy, she went immediately to care for someone else.
It was because Mary chose to put the needs of another ahead of her own needs that John the Baptist received the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb of his mother. That early sanctification allowed him to be the child who prepared the way for Christ. When we pray this mystery of the rosary, we pray that we, too, may have the spirit of service which allows us to put the needs of others ahead of our own.