HAPPY FEAST DAY OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY!
[/size][/font]The Second Joyous Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Visitation of the same glorious Lady unto her kinswoman St. Elizabeth, enshrines many beautiful and sublime mysteries, so as to make us cry forth in rapt adoration with St. Paul, "O depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God: how incomprehensible are His judgments, and His ways unsearchable!" (Rom. cap. xi., 33). For herein do we find revealed the inestimable and ineffable works of grace that Our Lord deigned to operate in Mary, with Mary, and through Mary; and all the heresies and errors that have insulted the majesty of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary are here utterly refuted and overthrown.
It would be well to lend ear to what Rev. Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange has to say regarding this Mystery (The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus, vol. II, Appendix “The Mysteries of the Rosary”):
Mary, who was to give birth to the Savior, brought grace to Elizabeth and to the unborn precursor. Mary herself had been redeemed in an absolutely exceptional manner by the future merits of her Son and she concurred in the redemption of us all. From the moment of her immaculate conception she had been redeemed by a sovereign redemption, being preserved from original sin instead of being healed of it. It was fitting that a perfect Redeemer should accomplish a sovereign and preservative redemption in at least one soul, and in that soul more closely associated with Him than any other in the work of man’s salvation. Truly, what Jesus merited for us in justice, Mary has merited for us with Him and in Him and by Him through the merit of congruity. In this sense it has pleased our Lord that no one should be saved except in consideration of the merits of His Mother. In the same sense it has pleased Him to sanctify the precursor by Mary’s words.
Before the great Dominican theologian, St. Alphonsus in his celebrated work, The Glories of Mary
(Part II, discourse V), wrote:
And now, if all these first-fruits of Redemption passed through Mary as the channel through which grace was communicated to the Baptist, the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary and so many other blessings to the whole house, the first graces that to our knowledge the Eternal Word had granted on earth after the Incarnation, it is quite correct to believe that thenceforward God made Mary the universal channel, as she is called by St. Bernard, through which all the other graces that our Lord is pleased to dispense to us should pass.
The consecrated Virgins of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, daughters of St. Bridget, have a very beautiful Office for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their Breviary. The antiphons found therein testify to the fact that, as St. Alphonsus reports, this Feast was also known as that of “Our Blessed Lady of Graces.”
At First Vespers, this very beautiful antiphon at the Magnificat―that sublime Canticle of adoration and thanksgiving that welled forth from the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin at the sight of the wonders her Son had wrought and had still to work in her, with her and through her―very beautifully echoes the praise of the Our Lady in her Canticle, and lauds the heavenly Lord for having elevated Mary above all other creatures, and for having given us as our dear Mother―so that at the Visitation the Blessed Virgin already began exercising that maternal authority that was given her by Our Crucified Lord at the foot of the Cross (S. John. cap. xix., 26):
May the King of the celestial armies be magnified, Who hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden, Who hath magnified her above all things which He created: may the benign charity be unceasingly praised of He Who hath constituted her as Mother of charity for us.
At Second Vespers, the antiphon at the Magnificat hails Our Lady, who, in a greater and truer sense than St. Paul, became all things to all men (I Cor. cap. ix., 22):
Eternally rejoice, O Mother inviolate, who art made all to all things: utmost glory unto the Trinity, gladness unto the Angels, liberator unto the captives, healer unto the languishing, consoler unto the desolate, supporter unto the just, helper unto the condemned, Mother unto the Son of God; blessed be thou everlastingly, and blessed be the Fruit of thy womb.
Being mindful of the truth so beautifully sung by the daughters of St. Bridget, St. Alphonsus exhorts us to have recourse to this Mediatress of All Graces, “If we, then, desire graces, we must go to this treasurer and dispenser of graces; for it is the sovereign will of the giver of every good thing.” And the same consecrated Virgins tenderly cry forth unto her in the antiphon at the Benedictus at Lauds:
Mary, O Mary, thou principal gem of all sanctity: grant us to humbly serve thee, and be preserved from the thousands of thousands of wiles of the ancient enemy, O Mary.
Finally, the Office for the Feast of the Visitation has this Collect not found in the Roman Missal, the vernacular translation thereof is as follows:
Almighty, everlasting God, Who out of the abundance of charity didst inspire Blessed Mary the Virgin, impregnated with Thy Son, to salute Elizabeth: grant, we pray; that by her Visitation we may be filled with heavenly gifts, and be freed from all adversities.
Let us never weary of crying forth unto Mary in all our necessities, and may the innumerable graces, excellencies and glories wherewith she has been so ineffably exalted be to us so many reasons to render selfless adoration and thanksgiving unto God almighty, whose infinite and eternal charity fashioned for Himself and for us such a great Mother.[/color][/b][/font][/size]
**************************SourcesBreviarium Sacrarum Virginum Ordinis Sanctissimi Salvatoris, vulgo Santæ Birgittæ; horas Deiparæ Virginis per ferias distributas continens opus pium et omnibus eidem Virgini devotis ob Sermones Angelicos accommodatissimum; jussu Illustrissimi et Reverendissimi Domini Episcopi Plymuthensis, Monasterii de Syon Ordinarii denuo typis impressum
. Rome, Tournai, Paris: Desclée & Socii, 1908.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori. The Glories of Mary
. Ed. Rev. Father Eugene Grimm. 3rd Reprint Revised. Brooklyn, NY: Redemptorist Fathers, 1931.
Garrigou-Lagrange, Rev. Father Reginald. The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus
. Trans. Sister Jeanne Marie, O. P. Vol. 2. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1951.