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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 1, 39-56

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.

She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;

because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,

and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.

He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.

He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love

-according to the promise he made to our ancestors -- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.

Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Catholic Church and the Anglican Church today commemorate Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth, a feast that the liturgy collocated between the memory of the Annunciation and the Nativity of John the Baptist in order to link it better to the Gospel narration. The Gospel we have heard proclaims this event to us. After hearing from the angel that Elizabeth was pregnant, Mary immediately travels to see her. "With haste," Luke writes. We could say that the Gospel always hurries us; it pushes us to go outside of our habits, our worries, and our thoughts in order to go ahead and care about others. And how many thoughts must Mary have had just after the Word of God had completely turned her life upside down! The Gospel makes us get up from our tired habits, and it pushes us to go and be near those who suffer and those who are in need, like the elderly Elizabeth who was facing a difficult pregnancy. As soon as she saw Mary come into the house, Elizabeth rejoiced deeply, even in her very womb. It is the joy that the weak and poor feel when they are visited by the servants - the men and women of the Lord - those "who believe that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to them by the Lord." The Word of God creates a new alliance in the world, an unusual alliance between the disciples of the Gospel and the poor. Mary has become the first of the believers. She appears from the start marked by the blessedness of the one who listens to the Word of God. It is the Gospel’s first beatitude, as Luke writes: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." Mary’s happiness, as the first disciple of the Gospel, is expressed in the song Magnificat, a song that manifests the joy of a poor girl from a lost village in the periphery of the empire when she sees that the Lord of heaven and earth has stooped down to her, his poor servant. Mary does not deem herself worthy of consideration, as each one of us generally claims for him/herself. She knows that everything comes to her from God and that her greatness and strength are from God: the same God who freed Israel, who has protected the poor, who has humbled the proud and has filled the hungry with good things; he has stooped down to her and loved her. And she has received him in her heart. From that day on, through her, God has put his dwelling in our midst.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 26 March
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 27 March
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 28 March
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 29 March
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 30 March
Memory of the Church
Friday, 31 March
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 1 April
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 2 April
Liturgy of the Sunday