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From the Pastor 05/27/18

These past few weeks have been very busy with Confirmation, First Holy Communions, and now graduations. It has also been a time for landscaping and I have been very busy. While doing landscaping some parishioners will see me in my boots, work jeans and tee shirts and say hello to me. Unfortunately because I am 50% deaf, many times I cannot hear people saying hello. My maintenance men mentioned to me that many times I do not respond back to parishioners’ greetings. I do want to apologize if for any reason you may say hello to me while I am outside working and fail to respond back. It’s just that most of the time with outside noise I am unable to hear people. Please know that in no way am I purposely not responding back to your greeting.

Four Canons Regular of the Augustine chapter of sion kneeling, two by two at an open grave meditating the fragility of life. In the grave lies a half-decayed body. On the left Saint Jerome, on the right Saint Augustine. Mary and Elizabeth are sitting on a sod bench. In the background an enclosed courtyard where the Christ child is playing accompanied by angels.

This Thursday, May 31, the Church will celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The feast of the Visitation recalls to us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; Elizabeth’s proclaiming of Mary — under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

— as Mother of God and blessed among women; and Mary’s singing of the sublime hymn, Magnificat (“My soul doth magnify the Lord”) which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church. The Visitation is frequently depicted in art, and was the central mystery of St. Francis de Sales’ devotions.

The Mass of the Visitation salutes her, who in her womb bore the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Sun of Justice. Hearing herself addressed by the most lofty title of “Mother of the Lord” and realizing what grace her visit had conferred on John, Mary broke out in that sublime canticle of praise proclaiming prophetically that henceforth she would be venerated down through the centuries:

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name. (Lk. 1:46)

— excerpted from the Cathedral Daily Missal

This feast is of medieval origin, it was kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its observance spread throughout the entire Church. Previously it was celebrated on July 2. Now it is celebrated between the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the birth of St. John the Baptist, in conformity with the Gospel accounts. Some places appropriately observe a celebration of the reality and sanctity of human life in the womb.

And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judea. [Lk. 1:39] How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke’s description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. Those days in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary’s own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth’s need — almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother’s womb and leapt for joy. I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. (Jn. 10, 10) Even before He was born His presence gave life.

With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child’s heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother’s womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.

How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God? She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.

If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers. If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, “in haste,” to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.

— excerpted from The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander

Patronage: St. Elizabeth: Expectant mothers.

A blessed Week to All,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor