During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
Haste. Praying the Scriptural Rosary for the Joyful Mysteries, that word caught my ear. I never noticed it before. In the past, when I meditated on the second Joyful Mystery, I tried to picture Mary making her way to her elder cousin. But when I paid closer attention, my ear snagged on that word: Haste.
When I pray the Rosary, I try to focus on one or more images related to each Mystery. Like with the Wedding Feast at Cana, I can picture Mary telling the others, “do whatever he tells you.” And I try to take guidance from this wisdom: obey her son, Jesus.
With the Visitation, I would usually focus my mind’s eye on John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb. What joy he must have felt in the presence of the Lord!
But now, with this new realization–haste–I added a new image: Mary, making haste to her cousin, Elizabeth. I wonder: what was her hurry?
I think a big reason for her haste has to do with our social nature. I think Mary had at least three motives for making haste. She wanted to share her news with her elder cousin–she (Mary) was pregnant! She wanted to seek her elder cousin’s wisdom as Mary began this new chapter as a mother. After all, Mary was still very young and she probably still had a lot to learn about the whole process. She probably was nervous. And finally, she wanted to help Elizabeth through her pregnancy. Elizabeth was “advanced in years“–pregnancy at her age would be difficult.
And so, when I imagine Mary’s hasty journey, I see in her rush her desire to share with Elizabeth three things: their shared joy at each pregnancy, Elizabeth’s wisdom that she acquired through years, and Mary’s love that she acquired through grace. And so, as I pray the Joyful Mysteries, I hope I am motivated, as Mary, to make haste in my efforts to share joy, wisdom and love with others.
As I finished writing this post, I learned of the passing of my pastor, Monsignor William H. Easton. I only was in his parish (the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan) for a little over a year, and yet I learned how blessed we have been to have such a wonderful shepherd as Monsignor Easton. I know we will miss him, but I can see Mary making haste to welcome him to her Son’s kingdom.
Eternal rest grant unto Monsignor Easton, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.