In England and Wales this year, Sunday 14th August was kept as the Solemnity of the Assumption, (in other years it is kept on 15th August).
The Gospel of the Mass of the Day was the Gospel of the Visitation. We hear of the meeting between Mary and her cousin, and the thanksgiving each offer in celebration of the graciousness of God.
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now 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? For 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.’
And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
The song is a song of joy, and Elizabeth and Mary are both fully aware of the reasons they have for joy. And they give themselves fully over to joy and thanksgiving.
- Do you rejoice easily?
- For what?
- If you do not rejoice easily, why might that be?
Bring your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.
Church of the Visitation, Ein Kerem. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.