After learning from the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Son of God, Mary goes to her cousin Elisabeth, who was herself pregnant with John the Baptist. This bible story is at the origin of two beautiful Marian prayers : Hail Mary and the Magnificat. This passage also corresponds to one of the joyful mysteries of the Rosary for Catholics.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
Mary comes to help her pregnant cousin, but it is above all a moment of sharing and communion between these two women as well as between the two children they carry. God is a relationship and Jesus, still in his mother’s womb, was already meeting those around him.
Mary, carrying this deep joy in her and expressing it in her praise to God, shines. So as soon as he arrives, her cousin is touched by this light and by the Spirit; and the baby in her too. This baby, who will become John the Baptist, will also testify to this profound joy that intimacy with Jesus provides: You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:28-29)