her cousin Elizabeth
Today we commemorate one of the most beautiful stories in all of the New Testament, the day Our Lady goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel that Elizabeth 'was with child,' and Mary had sat out at once to visit her kinswoman.
For us, this is a lovely story of family intimacy and friendship; Mary is concerned for her cousin and goes to visit her.
There is great celebration and joy as Mary arrives at Elizabeth's house; John jumps for joy in the womb of his mother.
In all families there is something beautiful in the birth of a child. It is a time of great joy and blessing. In our modern society we would almost frown on the simplicity of Mary in going to her cousin and yet deep down we know that such a visit and gift of friendship is a wonderful thing.
Mary did not need to go but she dropped all and ran to her friend to share her joy. We all have things to celebrate but we so often keep them to ourselves. When we enter the spiritual life we have touches from God and insights into our own lives and yet we often keep these to ourselves rather than share them even with our spouse.
The joy of love and of life is to be shared and celebrated. Some people say that Mary ran to Elizabeth out of shame at being pregnant before she was married. Such an attitude makes no allowance for the strength of Mary as a person and shows no understanding of the natural desire to share joy.
In our own lives, particularly with those closest to us, we should share our joys, hopes and fears. This sharing of our inmost feelings builds up family and friendship.
When we refuse to share our stories we cut the world off, when we take the risk we build the world up.
Mary took the risk of sharing her joy and what a wonderful story we have had to tell ever since!