Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Luke 1:39–42
The beautiful feast we celebrate today depicts two miraculous pregnancies. One came about by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The other was the miraculous conception in the womb of a woman who was advanced in years. The Scripture passage quoted above presents us with the initial encounter of Mary and Elizabeth as they greeted each other upon Mary’s arrival. Mary had traveled a long distance to be with her cousin for the last few months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And upon greeting Elizabeth, another miraculous event occurred. The baby in the womb of Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist, “leaped for joy.” Thus, even prior to his birth, John began to fulfill his unique mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He did so at that moment by inspiring his own mother, Elizabeth, with a knowledge of the divine presence of the Savior within the womb of Mary.
Consider, especially, the conversations that these two holy women would have shared during their months together. Though we are given only a small insight into their initial conversation from the Scriptures, we can be certain that this was but a small sampling of what they would have discussed in much prayerful detail. In particular, their conversations would have contained a mutual sharing of the spiritual gift of joy.
Joy is much more than an emotion. It is spiritual in nature. It is not only an experience of something fun, it’s the experience of realizing the action of God in your life. Seeing God at work in wonderful ways leads to gratitude and rejoicing. This joy produces a strength and energy that is contagious and uplifting.
We must all strive to see the hand of God at work in our own lives so that our focus upon His divine actions will produce joy also. We need joy. We need to be strengthened by this gift so that we will be encouraged and strengthened as we daily strive to fulfill His will.
Reflect, today, upon the witness of joy that these two holy women give us. Know that you are called to share in the same joy as you humbly turn your attention to the ways in which God has blessed you. If you find that you lack joy in life, then consider where you allow your mind to wander throughout the day. Do you dwell on the past, on hurts, on problems and the like? If so, these thoughts will undoubtedly lead to depression and possibly even despair. Try to turn your mind to the action of God in your life. See the many blessings you have been given and savor those divine actions. Doing so will lead you to rejoice with Saint Elizabeth and our Blessed Mother.
My holy infant Jesus, as You dwelt in the sacred womb of Your own dear mother, Your presence caused much rejoicing in her heart and in the hearts of Elizabeth and John. Help me to see Your presence in our world and in my life, so that I, too, will be filled with the joy of You constantly coming to me. Jesus, I trust in You.