On the very last day of May, the Church celebrates the feast of the Visitation. This feast remembers the encounter of the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth.
“During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” – Luke 1:39-40
While it may seem like a small detail in the Gospel of Luke, this simple event can inspire us and provide a model of selfless love for others.
St. John Paul II reflected on this event in a homily at the conclusion of the Marian Month of 1979, focusing on how the Visitation highlights Mary’s humility and her charitable heart.
“Today’s feast of the Visitation presents to us another aspect of Mary’s inner life: her attitude of humble service and disinterested love for those in need. She has just heard from the Angel Gabriel of the state of her kinswoman Elizabeth, and at once she sets out for the hills ‘in haste’ to reach a city of Judah.”
Mary was willing to drop everything she was doing to help another person in need. Even though she had just received such astonishing news that she would bear the Son of God, she put aside her own needs for the needs of others.
St. John Paul II continued in his homily reflecting on this profound lesson from the life of the Virgin Mary.
“Who, better than Mary, had put this message [of love] into practice? And who, if not Jesus, whom she bore in her womb, urged her, stimulated her, inspired her to this continual attitude of generous service and disinterested love of others? ‘The Son of man came not to be served but to serve’ (Mt 20:28), Jesus will say to his disciples; but his Mother had already carried out perfectly this attitude of her Son.”
If we seek to bring Christ’s love into the world, we simply have to look to Mary for inspiration and guidance. Thorough her prayers and example, we can offer-up our own lives in service to others, not worrying about our own needs, but the needs of others.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States)
Philip Kosloski is the Digital Content Manager for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (USA) and is also a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and has been featured on such places as The Huffington Post, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Herald, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register and EWTN Radio.