It’s simple to pray the Rosary—but not so simple to meditate on the Rosary Mysteries. We don’t know where to begin half the time, or we’ve pondered the same thought repeatedly, and it feels pretty dried up.
What to do?
Learn more about the individual Mysteries! Learning more will give us more to think about.
That’s why we produced the digital devotional series Full of Grace. This beautiful series unlocks the richness of the Rosary and helps subscribers grow closer to Jesus Christ with the help of Our Lady.
To celebrate the beauty of the Feast of the Visitation, we’d like to share a free excerpt from Full of Grace.
The Visitation: Rosary Meditation
The second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation. Scripture tells us that Mary, though pregnant, traveled with haste to visit her kinsmen—Zechariah and Elizabeth—and to help with Elizabeth’s own pregnancy. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child—St. John the Baptist—leaped in his mother’s womb, and Elizabeth herself acknowledged Mary’s unborn child as “the Lord.”
“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’”Luke 1:39-43
At first glance, this Mystery appears to be little more than a joyful family visit. But in reality, this small episode reveals much about Christ’s identity, and gives the entire world cause for rejoicing.
In order to fully understand the immense importance of the Visitation, we must look to the Old Testament and the life of King David.
King David and the Power of God’s Presence
In the Old Testament, Israel’s most prized possession—and most sacred relic—was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark contained the Law of Moses, the staff of Aaron the High Priest, and heavenly manna from the desert. The Ark was the dwelling place of the Lord. To be in the presence of the Ark was to be in the presence of God.
King David had witnessed the awe-inspiring power of the Ark of the Covenant. He knew that the Lord—through the presence of the Ark—could destroy Israel’s enemies and bring him victory. He had once seen God smite a man who violated the Ark. David knew that it was his responsibility, as king of Israel, to bring the Ark into his household and care for it, but he began to fear the Lord’s power:
David became frightened of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”2 Samuel 6:9
In time, David came to realize that the Ark’s presence was a supreme blessing, since those who properly revered it were given a multitude of gifts from God. So he brought the Ark of the Covenant to the holy city of Jerusalem, and rejoiced at its awesome presence.
David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David with joy…Then David came dancing before the Lord with abandon, girt with a linen ephod. David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and sound of horn. As the ark of the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal, daughter of Saul… saw King David jumping and dancing before the Lord…2 Samuel 6:12,14-16
The New Covenant Revealed at the Visitation
When we understand the context of David and the Ark, the details of the Visitation take on new meaning. Consider St. Elizabeth’s words:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”Luke 1:41-45
St. Elizabeth’s words are not a mere greeting between cousins. Instead, they reveal to us the identities of Mary and her Child.
Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. She contained within her body the Messiah, who would give the final law as the new Moses; who would offer the final sacrifice as the great High Priest; and who would give the final heavenly bread—His very presence—in the Eucharist. St. Elizabeth knows that she is standing in the presence of God.
Consider also the role of John the Baptist—still in the womb of his mother—who recognizes the presence of Jesus. Just as David leapt before the Ark, when it arrived in Israel, John leaps in his mother’s womb, announcing the arrival of the Lord.
This single moment encapsulates St. John’s entire life: he was, as the Angel Gabriel foretold, the one who would go before the Messiah, preparing the way of the Lord, announcing to Israel the coming of the Christ.
See how new and wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions […] ; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his mother’s womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Saviour is about to come.St. John Chrysostom
Mary Visits Us, Too
The Visitation reminds us that Mary will abide with us in prayer—and with Mary comes the presence of God. When we greet her, she greets us in return.
You must know that when you “hail” Mary, she immediately greets you!…she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!St. Bernardine of Siena
When we pray this Mystery, we can share in the joy of St. Elizabeth and St. John. Just as Mary went “with haste” to visit her beloved cousin, Mary will come to us quickly when we are in need. If we allow her, she will visit us, help us, bless us, and assist us, all while bringing the presence of Christ into our lives.
For more inspiring content like this on the Mysteries of the Rosary (as well as the history of the Rosary and more) sign up for Full of Grace!
Note: feature image painted by Robert Anning Bell. Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0