“Mondays with Mary” – Saint Francis de Sales on the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This coming Friday, May 31, is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We pray this Scriptural event when we recite the Second Joyful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s an important typological event in the Scriptures since it fulfills Mary’s role as the New Ark of the Covenant and Hannah’s Song in 1 Samuel. For a thorough explanation of this biblical event, please read – “Mondays with Mary” – The Visitation and the Magnificat. Understanding this event in the life of Christ and Mary is essential for all Christians.

For this week’s “Mondays with Mary”, I have chosen to provide you with some great St. Francis de Salesexcerpts from Saint Francis de Sales’ sermon, first preached by the great Doctor of the Church on July 2, 1618 (the original day of the feast). The feast of the Visitation is of medieval origin and was first celebrated by the Franciscan Order (1263 A.D.) and then eventually by the universal Church. It is now celebrated between the Annunciation and the birth of St. John the Baptist to coincide with the Gospel accounts.

Saint Francis de Sales says…

“Upon hearing from the same holy Gabriel that her kinswoman Elizabeth had in her old age conceived a son [Lk. 1:36], she desired, being her relative, to go to see her, so that she might wait upon her and be a comfort to her during her pregnancy, for she knew that such was the divine will…thus, aware of divine inspiration, she started out. She was not drawn by any curiosity to see if what the angel had told her was really true, for she had not the least doubt about it, but rather she was quite certain that things were exactly as he had declared.”

Speaking about the virtues of charity and humility – “…It was these two virtues which motivated her, and made her leave her little Nazareth, for charity is never idle; it burns in the hearts where it dwells and reigns, and the most blessed Virgin was full of it, because she bore Love Itself in her womb. She made continual acts of love, not only for God…she also loved her neighbor in a most perfect degree…”

Visitation of BVM -3

“…Our Lady went quickly that he might be sanctified, and that this sacred Child who was God, to whom alone belongs the sanctification of souls, might during this visit bring it about in the glorious St. John, purifying him and delivering him from Original Sin…It was charity, therefore, which made the Most Blessed Virgin cooperate in this sanctification. But it is so no wonder that her sacred heart was quite full of love and desire for the salvation of people, since she bore within her chaste womb Love Itself, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world…”

“Along with charity, she was gifted with a profound humility, as it testified by those words which she uttered upon His servant in her lowliness, all ages to come will praise her and call her blessed…The most holy Virgin, hearing what her kinswoman Elizabeth said in her praise, humbled herself and referred all the glory to God. Then declaring her that all her happiness, as I said, came from the fact that He had looked upon His servant in her lowliness, she entoned that beautiful and wonderful canticle, the Magnificat [Lk. 1:46-55]…”

Let us pray that we will always strive to have the Marian disposition of saying “Yes” to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us strive in the virtues of charity and humility – always willing to love others and to never allow our pride to get in the way of that love.

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