Aim: To know and encounter Mary, Ark of the Covenant, who brings Jesus, the source of our holiness.
The child leapt for joy (Lk 1:39-45): In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord”.
Mary, the “highly favoured one” (Lk 1:28), has just become the carrier or the “ark” of the new Covenant, Jesus, the “Son of the Most High” (v. 32). She is aware of the significant impact the child in her womb can bring to the world; that’s why she goes “with haste” to share the good news with her relative Elizabeth. Mary carries the “source of all joy”, the Messiah; on this account, she feels and is indeed “blessed among women” (v. 42). At the same time, the same source of joy, through her, “fills Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit” (v. 41) and makes the child John in her womb “leap for joy” (v. 44).
Often, in the prayer of the Rosary, the text introducing the second joyful mystery, states, “… in honour of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth and the sanctification of John the Baptist”. It recognises, St. Ambrose says, that “the son of Mary, who is beyond our understanding, is active in his mother in a way beyond our understanding”. St. Anselm affirms the same when he writes, “Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s son, nothing could be redeemed”, and sanctified, we may add.
All this underlines the importance of journeying with Mary in our spiritual life. She is the ground of the source of our holiness, Jesus. She is the “tree of life”. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort says: “If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul, she will in due time bring forth her fruit which is none other than Jesus […] If we follow the immaculate path of Mary, we will always work in daylight, we will work in a holy place, and we will work but little. There is no darkness in Mary, not even the slightest shadow since there was never any sin in her. She is a holy place, a holy of holies, in which saints are formed and moulded” (TD 218).
Personal Reflection and Sharing
What is my experience of Mary as the “ark of the Covenant”? How is she “facilitating” my spiritual growth? What new “leaps” towards Christ do I sense in me, through Mary?