Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The "girly" Mysteries - The Visitation

When I pray the Joyful Mysteries, I'm sometimes struck by the intensely feminine spirituality of them. Not to the exclusion of men, but there is a special dimension accessible to women's understanding, I think.

One of the most notable is the Mystery of the Visitation. Mary, now pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit, but not married, goes, maybe even flees, to visit her relative Elizabeth in a distant town. Elizabeth, with some surprise, finds herself pregnant at an age where she must have lost hope. So we have two bemused women (holy does not stop bemusement, I'm sure) who come together, who visit.

A beautiful line in Scripture: "the babe in Elizabeth's womb leaped for joy." I have such a vivid picture of two women, laughing, crying, hugging, praising God. Elizabeth was the first to recognize the presence of the Lord in Mary's womb. I am sure Mary found comfort with her cousin, safety, understanding. They also probably did a little cooking, a little sewing, told each other which neckline or hairstyle looked best on the other. Why not? They were women!

Do we recognize the presence of Christ in the hearts of our friends? Do we fully participate in God's particular love for that friend? That can be done in the context of shopping for bathing suits (a chance to exercise the virtue of mercy), or writing out recipes, or gabbing on the phone. Do we want the highest and best for our friends? When we do, I think we know that by observing the results, whether we are yet people of faith or not. But, knowing that Jesus loves you in a very specific way through me, makes me more careful of your soul, more vigilant for your salvation.

How beautiful to be a woman of God.


Roz said...

One of the most inspiring retreats I ever went on was a day with a friend in a local apartment set aside for that purpose by a local order of sisters. We brought our Bibles and spiritual reading, but instead we ended up spending the whole time "visiting" with one another, telling stories of how good God had been to us, breaking into prayer from time to time, etc.

We still refer to the day we "recounted the deeds of the Lord" and talk about this as one of the exceptionally blessed days of our lives. You just never know what God will use.

Therese Z said...

I have never in my life prayed with just one other person, or even two other people (not counting Confession, that's really not praying with the priest, since he's in persona Christi).

Just didn't know the right people, until recently. I've only prayed in herds, or completely alone.

It must be a sign of spiritual maturing to be able to speak to God in concert with only a few other people, without self-consciousness or pride. Otherwise, we're keeping it too private, perhaps, or too anonymous.

Roz said...

I love conversational prayer. Sometimes it seems natural to think of Jesus as a member of the circle who I can turn to from time to time to say "We could use some help with this -- what do you think?"

TS said...

Re: the Girly Mysteries. So true! I thought I was the only one who thought so. The Visitation is the most difficult one for me to meditate on, but I'm glad to see it is powerful for half the human race!

Therese Z said...

TS, is there any particular "studly" Mystery? A mystery that really lights up for men, in the same way I described the Visitation for women? If I had to guess, I'd say it was one of the Luminous Mysteries.

TS said...

Hmm...good question...don't know if there's a particularly studly mystery, but certainly the Sorrowful ones speak to manly-man Mel Gibson (as well as to me). The Resurrection is pretty cool too.



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