Jumping for Joy

The Visitation by Domenico Ghirlandaio 1486-1490

The Visitation by Domenico Ghirlandaio 1486-1490

This reflection is based on Luke 1:39-45 and the Joyful Mysteries: The Visitation.

At the sound of Mary’s greeting the pre-born child John leaped in his mother Elizabeth’s womb. I often wonder about Mary’s greeting, what she said, how far off she was etc.

I imagine the words of Mary’s greeting to be the common Hebrew greeting, “Shalom!” Shalom as you probably know is the Hebrew word for peace but it also means completeness, which implies wellness or wholeness. This greeting coming from our mother who alone received the fullness of grace is a great blessing indeed. Jesus greeted the disciples this way so it is fitting that Mary should greet us this way also. In her many apparitions Mary repeats the phrase, “Peace, peace, peace.” So when I pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary and I get to the Visitation, I now imagine Mary entering the room (her relative’s room and also my own room) and greeting everyone with, “Peace!” and blessing us from the fullness of grace that she received.

Notes:
In paintings Mary is often (but not always) pictured greeting Elizabeth outside the home yet in scripture it is written that she entered before she spoke her greeting. This may be a cultural custom or it may be that the outside grounds are considered part of the home. This also shows me how today Mary enters the homes of those who welcome her in prayer.

Various paintings of the visitation showing the greeting outside:

Visitation by Fra Angelico 1433-34

Visitation by Fra Angelico 1433-34


The Visitation by John of Stagnos, 1637

The Visitation by John of Stagnos, 1637


Visitation of Mary by Rogier van der Weyden 1440-1445

Visitation of Mary by Rogier van der Weyden 1440-1445


Visitation

Visitation

O blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Luke 1:39-45
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
39And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.
40And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
41And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
45And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

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