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Feast of the Visitation

Visitation of Mary

The Visitation refers to Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary had been told by the Archangel Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth, though of advanced years and sterile, was six months pregnant, and acting on further instructions from God, Mary determined to visit Elizabeth.

The journey of 26 leagues (perhaps 125 km?) took four days and three nights. The thousand angels of Mary's guard accompanied Mary and Joseph, but were visible only to Mary.

When Mary and Elizabeth were alone, Elizabeth was infused with the knowledge that Mary was pregnant with the Son of the Most High. She cried out `Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!' (Which of course later became the beginning of the "Hail Mary")

Both Mary and Elizabeth were given to understand that the purpose and object of the trip, was so that Jesus, a mere 8 days after conception, should bless John the Baptist in his mother's womb and remove from him the stain of Original Sin, so that he might be distinguished in holiness as he was in his office of Precursor and Baptist.

When these words above were pronounced, the baby in Elizabeth's womb `leapt for joy', because he was given perfect use of reason, and understood that he had been sanctified from Original Sin.

In the sweetest and softest voice,Mary intoned the Magnificat-
"My soul doth magnify the Lord: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath showed might with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever. Amen."

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