Sunday, July 2, 2017

Feast of the Visitation

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, the day when Mary went to see Elizabeth after learning that she was pregnant with the Son of God, and that Elizabeth too was pregnant.  The Church observes several days which are connected with the virgin Mary: The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord (Feb. 2); The Annunciation of Our Lord (March 25); The Visitation (July 2); and St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord (Aug. 15).  We do this because they are festivals of the Incarnation.  On these days we confess with the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) that Mary was the Theotokos, the God bearer.  We confess the reality of the incarnation – that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary as the One who is true God and true man.  In addition, Mary stands out as a great example and model of faith as she trusted God’s Word.

Scripture reading:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:39-45).

Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and despised.  Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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