Blessed are you who believed. 

Has this ever happened to you?   You get inspired to help a sick friend, and you head out.   You arrive with a latte, a Rosary, and eager plans to lift his spirits.   But during your visit, you realize that your own heart is feeling lighter.   You came to bless someone, and you ended up being blessed as well!

That’s a lot like what Mary experienced at the Visitation.  She sets off to help her elderly pregnant cousin.   But God surprises both of them:  Elizabeth receives a revelation, and Mary discovers an unlikely source of help.   Inspired by the Spirit, Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the “mother of my Lord” and declares, “Blessed are you”.   In just a few words, Elizabeth both proclaims the Incarnation, and encourages Mary that God is with her.   She who had set out to serve and encourage has received divine encouragement herself.

We don’t often think of Mary as needing encouragement.   But everyone does.   One angelic visit didn’t explain every detail of the future to her.   As she encountered different challenges, she needed to take the faith she had and let God increase and deepen it.   She needed to understand “why me” instead of any other woman.   She needed to understand “why now” rather than after having come to live with Joseph.   She needed to understand “how now” to raise the Son of God in every stage of his development.   How reassuring Elizabeth’s words must have become to her over the years!

We all need reminders that God is with us.   We need them because we forget God’s promises.   We need them because we misplace our hope in shifting circumstances.   We need them because we get distracted by the cares and concerns of life.

Every day, the Spirit can assure you that God is with you.   He can steady your heart with encouraging words from other people.   Their words can bolster your faith and help it to keep growing.   So remember today that God has blessed and chosen you for this time and this place.   He has good plans for you.   And keep your eyes and heart open for the “Elizabeth” he sends your way to remind you!

word among us