I know this not the feast of the Visitation but for a number of years I have toyed with the idea of promoting the rosary using icons and scripture, with a commentary/meditation, in combination. Now I think that the best way to actually do this is to blog it and perhaps then seek to put it in book form.
The Second Joyful Mystery
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. Hail Mary
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary
In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Hail Mary
Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Hail Mary
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. Hail Mary
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--Hail Mary
holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Hail Mary
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. Hail Mary
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. Hail Mary
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Hail Mary
Glory be to the Father…
(Text of Luke's Gospel is from New International Version
What strikes me first is that Mary, the Theotokos, the Birth-Giver of God, goes to Elizabeth when she hears of her pregnancy. The Incarnation of the Word's first fruits are compassion, generosity and charity. John leaps at Mary's greeting. His leap of the Anawim - of those poor in spirit who hope in God - is a response to Mary's greeting. Her greeting therefore is already a proclamation of the Gospel, of the Good News of the Incarnation. It is her greeting that brings down the Holy Spirit on John. As St. Francis called her, she is 'Virgin made Church'. The moment of the greeting is portrayed in the icon. The Mother of the New Covenant greets the mother of the Old Covenant's last prophet. He who concludes the one and announces the other leaps with joy at the coming of the new and the mothers are filled. In an age where the unborn are denied personhood and the right to life this mystery speaks to us of the sacredness of human life and its Divine origin. God has made each of us for a purpose. He sent His Son to reveal His love and mercy and John leapt at His coming. May we too leap!