As I climbed the stairs leading up to the Church of the Visitation in Israel, the same phrase kept repeating itself in my brain, “Mary was one gutsy lady!”

What made me think that? 

Climbing the seemingly never-ending staircase to the Upper Church gave me a small taste of what it might have been like for Mary – while pregnant, mind you – to make her way up the rocky slope to the home of her cousin, Elizabeth. It’s quite a climb!

Add to that the rugged terrain she crossed from Nazareth to Judah, the hardship of traveling in a dusty caravan, the dangers of lurking robbers along the way, and the possibility of being stoned to death for being pregnant while not yet fully wed and, well, you get the picture. Still, she went. Rather than worrying about what it might cost her if she went, she worried about what it might cost others if she didn’t. (Read more about that here.)

We’re living in similar times. There are dangers all around us – physical, financial, medical, moral, and spiritual – that threaten our freedom, faith, and well-being. We must dare to be bold in our beliefs, being, and actions.Our Lord promised us that he would be with us always, to the end of the age. He is with us and will never abandon us no matter what. He will see to our protection and sustenance. What’s more, he sends his Blessed Mother to visit us, bearing Himself within her womb. She will come to comfort, companion, and assist us in our mission and trials. Don’t worry about what it might cost you if you do, rather worry about what it might cost others if you don’t. 

Stand strong, speak the Truth, stay informed, do what’s right according to God’s laws, live an ardent life of prayer, penance, receive the sacraments often, remain in the state of grace, and do not fear. Mary is standing outside the door of your heart, patiently knocking. Open it and let her in!

Visitation Prayer

O Virgin of the Visitation,
compelled by the Holy Spirit,
and with Jesus hidden beneath your Heart,
you arose in those days and, with haste,
went to your kinswoman Elizabeth,
to serve her in her time of need.
Elizabeth acknowledged your faith,
and a new song came to flower on your lips;
thus did you magnify the Father
whose mercy is from generation to generation.
Visit us now, O Mother of Our Lord,
and obtain for us a quickening of prophetic grace,
that we may serve our sisters in faithfully loving the Church,
and love the Church in humbly serving our sisters,
and so, under your gracious protection,
again and again repeat your words:
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
be it done unto me according to your word.”
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.


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