May 31 – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary because on it, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age.
– Patron Saint Index
“The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.”
The Magnificat is one of my favourite prayers. It is probably one of the first prayers that I learnt by heart, after The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be. Something about this prayer just speaks to me.
I was introduced to this prayer at the Novena Church, where my grandmother and mother brought me to the weekly Saturday Novena sessions during my growing up years. We attended every Saturday and this instilled in me a joy of attending these sessions. No weekend would be complete without taking bus number 140 or 143 to the Novena.
It was at these Novena devotions that I was introduced to the Church. Not the physical buildings, but the people of God. We came from all walks of life — rich, poor, young old — all united by our love for our Lady and to seek her intercessions, or to give thanks for prayers answered. It was such a spiritual gathering that you could physically feel the Holy Spirit moving in and around us as we sang and prayed as one.
As we rose as one to pray the Magnificat, we were always assured of God’s providence. He will always provide — when we are hungry, when we are in need or when we are lonely. I grew up not having a lot, yet we were not in want for anything. The Lord provided what we needed and not what we wanted. This prayer also taught me to be at peace with, or to be satisfied with, whatever we had. Whether it was hand me down apparel, a pair of brandless soccer boots, or story books from friends, I knew that God is with us, that Jesus is our constant companion. The Magnificat prayer always serves to remind me that God will not abandon us.
Another thing that struck me during the Visitation narrative is that Our Lady immediately set out to her elderly cousin once she received news from the angel Gabriel that Elizabeth was expecting a child. For this journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judah, Mary traveled around 160 kms, with an elevation of about 1000 metres (about the height of 10 Bukit Timah Hills). It was definitely not an easy journey in those days, and it would have taken a toll on her as she would also be in her first trimester. Yet, she endured the journey willingly just to help her cousin. This showed Our Lady’s selfless love for her kinswoman and her call to serve those that were in need.
Recently, as I was doing some self-reflection, I had a feeling that my call may be one of service. I really enjoy helping people and serving my parish in my ministry responsibilities. Of course, the issue of egos coming into play and my pride always surfaces to distract me from serving and loving others. I am still struggling with these sins. As I discern more, I pray that Our Lady will intercede for me — that I may know what it is that I am searching for and, if it a call to service, what that service may entail or how it will look.
And at the same time, I also ask Our Lady to pray for all of us, that we may find joy in our prayer lives, that we may have an enduring trust in the Lord and that we may love and serve one another as Jesus has loved us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are always here with us, providing, nurturing and forgiving. We pray dear Lord, for the graces to always trust in you and to never ever forsake you. Keep us always in your love.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for Mama Mary, our model for faith and discipleship. She who always put others ahead of herself. She who always trusted in the Lord. She whose love for the Lord, allowed her to be His Mother and ours as well.