Devotional thoughts for Sunday 28th Nov 2004 St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth.
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 39-56
Dear and Respected Brethren,
We all are quite sure of the passage under reference. Verse 39 says, �And Mary arose in those days, and went into a city of Juda.� We know that this incident is the continuation of the blessed annunciation to St. Mary. When the angel visited St. Mary with the message of God Almighty, the angel had told about a miracle which had taken place in the house of Priest Zechariah and Elizabeth, as an evidence to prove that everything is possible to God Almighty. Normally people would accept incidents in their lives either positively or negatively. Those who would accept the incidents positively would also hoard the joy and pleasure within themselves. But we find a very entirely different approach in St. Mary�s response. Though she was very small in her age, she arose from what she accepted/enjoyed. She submits herself for a tedious task. We know the journey to the hilly area must be of hardships. But she ignored all difficulties and went to the city of Juda. Joshua 21:9 tells us how the city got the name of Juda. She entered the house of Zechariahs and Elizabeth to whom God�s mercy had been bestowed. This is called the searching love of God Almighty. St. Mary voluntarily took up the pains in traveling to the hilly city with her intention to share the joy she had attained and also to take part in the enjoyment of her relatives, Elizabeth and her husband Zechariahs. In Verse 41 we read, And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit�.
There are few people who get upset when they hear about the saints including St. Mary and the intercession to them. Such and others must subject this portion for the sincere and earnest study. When Elizabeth heard the sound of St. Mary�s salutation, she was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Church teaches to honor St. Mary on the basis of the teaching of the Holy Bible. The baby in her womb leaped because the Holy Spirit anointed baby in mother�s womb also in addition to anointing the mother. How one could believe this? If one could believe that nothing is impossible to God or everything is possible to God, he or she could believe without any sort of reserves. In Acts of the Apostles chapter 6:3, we read about 7 men elected as the Deacons. It is said that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. In verse 42 we read, �And she spoke pit with a loud voice, and said, �Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb�. We know this the second part of our prayer �Hail Mary�. The first part is from the Angel Gabriel�s salutation. We should not forget that our prayer of intercession to St. Mary itself is taken from the Holy Bible. Then how the protestant sort of thinkers could accuse that the blessed teaching of the Holy Church is against the Holy Bible?
In the book of Judges we read about a blessed lady (Judges 5:24) In Proverbs, Solomon the wise advises us �Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised, Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her own works praise her in the gates� (Proverbs 31: 30-31) Now let us see what is Lord God�s opinion about St. Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, �Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee, you are blessed among women�. The Holy Church is honoring St. Mary because the Lord is with her or in other words, she is in our Lord God. How one could question this faith as clear evidence is given in the Holy Bible? Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist only addressed St. Mary �Theotokos� or Yeldos Aloho. The Holy Church accepted this name much later only. (Verse 43) Elizabeth again confirms that her baby in her womb had leaped on hearing the salutation of Mother of God. (Verse 44) In verse 46-48 we find the answer of St. Mary. Her immediate response was similar to that of Hanna in I Samuel 2:1. We read there �And Hannah prayed and said �my heart rejoice in th Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over my enemies, because I rejoice in the salvation�. In verse 47 we read, �My spirit has rejoiced in God my savior�. How great would have been her joy when it was revealed that she was bearing the Savior of the entire mankind and entire world in her womb? She was sure about it and that is why she said all generations shall call me blessed. (Verse 48)
St. Mary admits that the mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name. (verse 49) Now let us look back to our lives and try to find out how many great things we have received from our Lord God. In fact we are enjoying a number of great things from our Lord. Our very existence on earth itself is the mercy of God. In every second of our lives, we are enjoying a number of blessings, care and protections. Are we grateful for them? What is the meaning in boasting our tradition or the faith, as long as we are ungrateful to Lord God? Really it is a sin to be ungrateful to Lord God. We must repent for our sins and get back from our wrong ways. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. (Kindly refer Genesis 17:7, Exodus 20:6, Psalms 85:9 and evaluate whether we are doing justice to the generations after us) These verses of St. Mary are known as the song of St. Mary. Kindly meditate the song and try to follow those principles in our lives.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.
St. George Orthodox Church
Member ID # 0905