STATIONS OF THE NATIVITY: Visitation, by Raymond Chapman

From Stations of the Nativity: Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ

Before the Stations

Almighty God, whose blessed Son took our human nature so that we might regain our lost innocence and be restored to the divine image that was disfigured by sin, grant that as we meditate on the mystery of his humanity we may share the glory of his divinity, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.

Amen.


A hymn may be sung: the familiar Christmas hymns tell of the wonder of the Incarnation and the following is particularly suitable (click on hymn title to be directed to the YouTube video of its performance):

Of the Fathers Heart Begotten


3: Visitation

V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judaean town in the hill country where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb.  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?  For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoiced in God my Savior. (Luke 1:39-47)

We read of a movingly natural and human response to the message of the angel.  Mary goes to tell the strange story to her cousin Elizabeth, who is already expecting a child.  As the two women greet each other, the presence of the divine brings a response from Elizabeth’s unborn son: the Baptist, still in the womb, already acknowledges the coming of one much greater than himself.  Mary, no longer fearful, breaks into a song of joy and praise.

We give thanks for the mutual support of family and friends, for their love and sympathy in the great moments of life.  Give us grace to value human love more deeply, to show it in our concern for others and to see in it a shadow of the divine love.

We fail to recognize the presence of holiness in our daily lives.  We do not reverence life itself as a miracle of God’s bounty.  Help us to acknowledge the divine spirit in other people and to honor them because they are created in love.

V: God sent his Son into the world.
R: To bring us to eternal life.
V: Let us bless the Lord.
R: Thanks be to God.

Did the sun shine, there among the hills, casting light on the young girl filled with such amazing news?

Now that angels were gentle as well as powerful, there was no fear, only awe and wonder and the need to confide in that kind, wise woman, nearer in blood, older in generation.

They embraced, Mary whispering her secret, and Elizabeth felt the strange stirring – not the usual movement, but a joy that ran through all her being that her child was sharing the time of growth with his Maker, and that this girl, known and loved from her own childhood, was to be the mother of the Lord.

As Mary went away, the hills kept the secret for a season, that two women had shared woman’s greatest joy and the whole world was coming again to birth.

Savior God, let me rejoice in you:

I rejoice in the holiness of your name,
I rejoice in your mercy to those who acknowledge you,
I rejoice in your love for the humble and meek,
I rejoice in the bounty of your spiritual food,
I rejoice in the assurance of your promises.

But when I fail to rejoice with all my heart,
Please, do not send me empty away.


After the Stations

Almighty God, grant to us, who have followed our Lord through the time of his coming to Earth, the peace promised by the angels, the simple trust of the shepherds, the wise discernment of the Magi, and the love of the Holy Family in our homes and in all our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Savior,

Amen.


A hymn may be sung: see above.


A priest who is present may give this blessing, or the people may say it together, saying, us, for, you.

May God give you grace to follow the example of Christ, and bring you through the power of his Incarnation to eternal life, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.


visitation

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