Monday, May 31, 2010

Love of Neighbor: Feast of the Visitation and Memorial Day

Today we celebrate both Memorial Day and the feast of The Visitation, the Second Joyful Mystery.  They are beautifully tied together through the fruit, or virtue, of this mystery which is Love of Neighbor. 

The Blessed Mother embodies love of neighbor in her perfect charity. After Mary accepted her role as Mother of  the Redeemer, the Angel Gabriel informed her that her aging and previously barren cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant.  Mary went "in haste" to visit her cousin and offer assistance.  Imagine that!  Mary was told that she was to be the mother of the Savior, and she thinks nothing of herself.  She doesn't run out and tell everyone she knows, "Hey!  Guess what?"  Instead, she quickly prepares for a rather difficult journey to the hill country because she knows that her cousin is elderly and will need lots of help.  Mary doesn't need to tell Elizabeth her secret.  The Holy Spirit does this for her and even informs the developing infant in her womb, John the Baptist, who jumps for joy as he recognizes the Divine Presence of the Son of Man.  Elizabeth declares that Mary is "blessed among women." (Luke 1:42)  She is God's masterpiece of human creation, and her soul magnifies His presence through her perfect humility and charity.

On this Memorial Day, we recall Jesus' words, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) As we remember and honor those who died for our nation today, think of how they died not only for their friends, but for millions of strangers. Please pray for their souls and for the families who mourn them.

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