Prayer and action go together. Mary showed us this when, after being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceiving the Word of God, Jesus, in her womb, she immediately set out on a journey of about 60 miles to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth whom she learned was pregnant. Each day as we make a daily offering of ourselves, we, like Mary pray that God’s will may be done in our lives as it was done in her—completely. In this way we give praise and glory to God as she did and we bring God’s grace into the world. Let us renew our offering now as we reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s speech on this day last year.
Meditating today on the Visitation of Mary, we are led to reflect on precisely the courage of faith. She, whom Elizabeth receives into her home, is the Virgin who “believed” the Angel’s message and responded with faith, bravely accepting God’s plan for her life and so welcoming within her the Eternal Word of the Most High. As my Blessed Predecessor underlined in his Encyclical “Redemptoris Mater,” it was through faith that Mary proclaimed her fiat, “she entrusted herself to God without reserve and ‘devoted herself totally as the handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son’” (#13; cf. Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium #56). This is why, in greeting her, Elizabeth exclaims: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). Mary truly believed that “with God nothing will be impossible” (1:37) and, on the strength of this faith, she, in daily obedience, allowed herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit in his plans. How can we not wish for own lives the same abandonment to trust? How could we cut ourselves off from a happiness that is born of such an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus? Therefore, turning today to the One, “full of grace”, let us ask her to obtain from Divine Providence for us, too, the ability to say “yes” to the plans of God with the same humble and pure faith with which she did. May she, who, by welcoming within her the Word of God, entrusted herself to him without reserve, guide us to an ever more generous and unconditional response to his plans, even when in them we are called to embrace the cross.