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My favorite spot in the Holy Land is the Church of the Visitation at Ein Kerem, up in the hills North of Jerusalem. Here is where Mary ran when she learned she would bear the Son of God. There’s a lovely, simple statue in the courtyard of her greeting Elizabeth. The two of them stand there in wonder, each of them carrying an “impossible child” — perhaps the best Mother’s Day ever.
Mary and Elizabeth remind us that motherhood in all its mystery is not just something to celebrate, it is something to greet in awe. For motherhood is at the very center of God’s plan to defeat the devil and redeem the human race.
Three things I love in this picture:
1. The impossibility of it all. Elizabeth and her husband are old. They never were able to have children, and her biological clock stopped years ago. Yet here she is: six months along, the baby leaping inside her. And Mary, a virgin! But “nothing is impossible with God,” as the angel told her. God is one who brings life out of death, who does the impossible.
2. These two mothers, a generation apart in age, have a profound spiritual connection. They are tied by their sons, but even more so they are tied by their faith in God. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” said Elizabeth. God’s promises are true. He is working out his plan in us.
3. In Mary’s Magnificat, she praises the God who has done great things for her, his humble servant. She praises the God who turns things upside down, who lifts up the lowly and throws down the proud.
On Mother’s Day, we can all take something away from this picture. Not all are mothers physically, but spiritually, all can be “mothers.” We can conceive Christ within ourselves, and bear Christ to the world.
Today let’s meditate on the mystery whereby God used motherhood to save us – and by which he accomplishes the impossible in us. Let’s stand firm on his promises, praise him for his mercy, and ask him to make us fruitful bearers of his word.