THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
2 July 2017
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Today we recall when Mary, the Mother of God, visited her cousin, Elizabeth. Our thoughts are directed to the visit of God to mankind. While it is true that God is everywhere as Pure Spirit, His desire was to become one with us in human form. Yet, even in human form, we see that He is hidden from view, in the womb of His Blessed Virgin Mother. Though, hidden from our eyes, He is nonetheless active in performing the work that He came to do. His very Presence, even though hidden, sanctified Saint John in his mother's womb. There is great joy in the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. They rejoice in the presence of each other, but they both know and understand that they are in the Presence of their Savior.
In a similar manner Jesus is hidden in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Hidden under the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus Christ is really and truly present where He continues His work of Salvation to the End of Time. In the Visitation of the Blessed Mother, there was no direct visible interaction between Our Lord and St. John the Baptist. However there were some very awesome things taking place on the spiritual or supernatural realm. Likewise, today, there are not a lot of material things transpiring when Jesus visits us hidden in the Holy Eucharist; but, if we are cooperating with the grace of God, there are tremendous things that transpire within our souls.
It is the delight of the Son of God to be with the sons of men. Jesus finds great joy in coming to us and being with us. He rejoices and delights in His creation. He continues His interaction with men here on earth until the end of time. Then in Heaven, His faithful loving creatures will delight in His presence. The veil will be lifted and we will see God face to face. As it is the delight of God to be with His loving and faithful children, so it is the delight of the children to rejoice in the eternal presence of God.
Mary illustrates to us today the love of God for us, as well as the love that He inspires us to have for each other. It was not only God Who desired this visitation, but Mary, herself, eagerly longed to see and be of service to her cousin and her infant child. Every true Catholic has the image of God indelibly marked upon his soul. We should desire and seek to see with the eyes of our souls, this hidden image in one another. We are all sinners and this image of God upon our souls is often disfigured or hidden because of our sins. Coins often contained the image of the king imprinted upon them. This image on the coin can become soiled and disfigured, but as long as it is still a coin the image remains. We can clean the coin and restore the image. This is like our souls. In baptism the image of God was imprinted upon our souls. Our sins can disfigure and soil this image within us, but it is not destroyed. There is some good even in the worst of us. We are never so bad that God cannot fix it.
For this reason, we should be very careful not to condemn souls too rashly. We never know which coin will be taken up cleaned and polished and which ones will become filthier still.
We should approach one another as Mary approached Elizabeth bringing the hidden life of God with us; imparting and sharing the gifts that He has given us. We should receive one another as Elizabeth received Mary humbled that we should receive the blessings of God through the efforts of our fellow men. Mary remained humble and Elizabeth remained humble, but both were increased by one another. Not only did the hidden life of God transform these two women, but He also transformed the very life of the infant St. John who was still hidden in Elizabeth's womb.
We should all worthily approach Jesus hidden in the Holy Eucharist to receive His love and grace, returning all the love that we have to give. Especially, we encourage expectant mothers to never miss an opportunity to receive Him into their bodies for the sake of the hidden life that God has implanted in their wombs. The mother that carries the life of Christ within her gives her unborn child unimaginable gifts. We do not suggest that the child is sanctified as St. John the Baptist was, but we believe that it must be most pleasing to God and beneficial to the child as well as the mother. Just as children share in the sins of their parents, so do they share in their graces.
We should not allow our souls to remain long in sin and defilement, nor should we allow our children, once they are born, to remain long without the sanctifying graces of Baptism. We should strive to keep the image and life of God un-defiled in us, and we must never put off the imprinting of this image and life of God in the souls of our children, by having them properly baptized.
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