The Visitation

Yesterday was the feast day I’ve adopted as “mine.” Why? Because I’m named after both saints involved, mostly, and because everyone needs to adopt at least one feast day. If you haven’t done this yet in your life, please do. Then let me know about it, and I’ll be sure we all celebrate with cake and wine and other appropriate trimmings.

It’s funny how every year on May 31 I start the day with all sorts of plans for how I’ll celebrate. Mass, of course. A rosary, maybe with friends. Perhaps a cake or drinks. And every year, all my lovely plans fall to pieces by mid-afternoon, for one reason or another. Yesterday I realized at about 7 p.m. that moving “the last little bit” was actually going to be a much bigger job than I anticipated. So I ranted and raved and stomped around and threw items carelessly into boxes in an attempt at “hurry,” and then I realized it didn’t matter.

The feast day happens whether I celebrate it the way I want to or not, doesn’t it? Why not just turn my move into the celebration?

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I thought about what the actual visitation must have been like for the two women I’m named after. Mary’s visit to her cousin probably included its fair share of missed expectations, inconveniences, and miscommunications. For starters, the entire trip came up as a last-minute thing, the minute Mary heard “Your cousin could use your help right now…”

And Elizabeth was probably freaked out. Have you ever been in close quarters with a freaked-out middle-aged woman for months on end? Then add “pregnant…for the first time” to that. Yikes, that’s all I can say. Granted, Elizabeth was a good and holy woman who rejoiced at the arrival of her little cousin, but I’m more than willing to bet that the old Original Sin thing reared its ugly head from time to time during the three months Mary stayed with her.

Besides all that, Mary was also pregnant, and young, and kind of on her own to figure it all out. I like to think of her life as one big sphere of light and peace, but that gets things backwards, doesn’t it? Mary remained peaceful, in the face of the not-peaceful. She remained beautiful in the face of ugliness and holy while surrounded by a world dead in sin. So as I stood knee-deep in my belongings in our new dining room, battling a growing sense of guilt because it was near midnight and I still hadn’t gotten in my planned prayer time in honor of the feast day, it hit me that I’d celebrated in perhaps the most appropriate way: by marching forward through the chaos that is my life right now, and striving (with the help of some very patient friends) to maintain my peace and joy in the face of it all.

I guess it makes sense that the Blessed Mother would have the best idea about how to spend her day.

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