Visit: visitare – to go to see and stay for a while.
Soon after Mary came to know she would bear a child, she visited Elizabeth for two reasons: to share the news and to see how her older cousin’s pregnancy was going.
I just came back from visiting two of my older cousins, Alice and Bernie. They’re sisters and daughters of my aunt and uncle, both of whom entered eternal life quite a few years ago. My visit started with a ninety-minute drive guided by my faithful GPS–nothing compared to the ninety-nine miles Mary traveled. I only stayed for about five hours; Mary stayed three months.
My two cousins get up close to the parish church. They both married and still live in the same area they grew up. They are Eucharistic Ministers and help with the linens, flowers, and sacristy needs. Like Mary and Elizabeth, their experience of God is an “of course” understanding. Like Mary and Elizabeth, “it’s God’s doing” is a common expression for them.
Both Alice and Bernie were unable to place flowers on the family grave sites this year for Easter. This was part of the reason for my visit. I had palms that I prepared weeks ago, woven and decorated with ribbon. Together, we found the graves, placed the palms, and took pictures of our ancestors’ resting places. We remembered, we celebrated, and we shared a few hugs before the final glance. As we did so, I sensed the depth of their “Be it done unto me according to your word.” Their life of “yes” radiated. Their example of the wisdom and care they can offer to young women filled me with peace and happiness all the way back home.
As the caravan took Mary back to Nazareth, Elizabeth and Mary hugged and waved to each other. “Peace be with you,” they said. “Shalom.”
Written by Sister Barbara Ann Smelko, SC