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Advent Calendar 2004

December 6

The Visitation, by Domenico Ghirlandaio
Article by Joseph Phelan
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The Visitation After her Annunciation, Mary is energized. "She rose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth," her elderly cousin miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist.

Here one the most wonderful moments in the whole Gospel happens. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." (Thus by combining the salutations of Gabriel and Elizabeth the Ave Maria is born.)

Mary's passionate outcry is unsurpassed. "My soul exults the Lord, for He has had regard for the humble state of his bond slave. For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed." [Luke,I, 39-56]

This amazing prayer of joy became known as the Magnificat, the text for much great religious music and poetry, as well as prayer.


This article is copyright 2002-04 by Joseph Phelan. Please do not republish any portion of this article without written permission.


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