Memorial Day – The Feast of the Visitation

Today is both Memorial Day and the Feast of the Visitation. One day remembers the war dead; the other day remembers the meeting of two women.

There is something to ponder there…

In any case, I love the Feast of the Visitation. I wasn’t going to write, but I heard a really good homily about it this morning and I just read a blogpost from Deacon Scott Dodge and there are too many thoughts rolling around in my head. That paper due next week cries out to be written, but this cries out too.

The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth is not some trifle, not some insipid moment of two women, but rather the power of what life and spirit are. If you ask me anyway!

It is at once, extraordinary and ordinary.

I had the good fortune to visit both Nazareth and Ein Kerem (believed to be Elizabeth’s home) in 2004. Let me assure you – this was no easy journey for Mary. Of course, we could ask, what journey of Mary’s was easy?

It seems clear to me that in all of this, no offense meant here and I am speaking broadly, the majority of the men in the New Testament had some issues. Afraid. Willful. Doubtful. Self-serving. Recalcitrant. Duplicitous- intentionally and not.

Seriously… Joseph wavered, but did the best, fast job of turning. Zechariah, John’s father – he was struck dumb! But he saw what he needed to do. Most of the apostles, Peter in particular.  I could go on and on. Man-bashing is not what I am about here – God uses us all for the purpose of love and revelation.

Then I look at Mary and Elizabeth. They both respond. Like that. Uncomplicated. Clear. Direct.

Their cooperation with grace requires courage, humility, inner authority, intuition, deep faith.

It is quite a beautiful thing if you ask me.

I am reminded however, that women remain at a different status than men in church in general.

So on this day, let us remember the speed and clarity that Mary and Elizabeth have in responding to God.

Were it up to them, perhaps we would be celebrating Peace Monday and not Memorial Day today.  And don’t forget… The public proclaiming of the Magnificat from today’s Gospel was outlawed as being dangerous during the 80’s in Guatemala when it was under military dictatorship.

The women – so threatening. To war and other disasters!