Today’s Gospel is the Visitation. When Mary went to see Elizabeth.
So what does that have to do with the Assumption, with the end of Mary’s life?
Everything, as it turns out. It’s the backstory. And it starts right after the Annunciation. When Mary said yes.
At the Annunciation, just before the angel leaves, the angel tells Mary about Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. As if to assure Mary that all this stuff about being the mother of the Savior really is happening. That it really is from God.
Today’s Gospel opens with Mary, in her own low-key way, calling the angel out. By going to see Elizabeth. To see if her cousin really is pregnant.
And Elizabeth is pregnant. Just as the angel said.
But before Mary can tell Elizabeth everything that’s happened, she finds that she doesn’t need to. Because Elizabeth already knows. Elizabeth is so in tune with God that she can spot a saint a mile away.
That recognition, by someone that holy, pushes Mary over the edge. With joy. In an explosion of praise that we call the Magnificat.
The next time you hear or read the Magnificat, don’t miss the most important part of Mary’s outburst. The unbridled joy of an untamed faith. Flowing like a river through every word, syllable, letter, and character of Mary’s song.
The spirit of the Magnificat is at the heart of our Faith.
That infectious joy is the birthright of every Christian.
Make it yours.