The Feast of the Visitation continues the story which started with the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th), when the Angel told Mary that she would bear the Saviour. After a time, the pregnant Mary goes into the country to visit with her cousin Elizabeth, who is also pregnant with John the Baptist. As the women meet, Elizabeth proclaims:
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
It is interesting how women always know when someone is going to have a baby. Even more interesting when another child senses a pregnancy. In any case the point is that there is something important going on here which relates to the idea of Mary as the “New Eve”.
Many will recognize the above portion of this scripture that makes up part of the “Hail Mary”. It is a pivotal verse, not only in the prayer but in the Sacred Scriptures. In both prayer and scripture it points to the reason there ever was a Blessed Virgin, which all has to do with the fruit that this “New Eve” bears. Not fruit stolen in pride from a desire to be like God, but by her simple and pure faith, she has accepted the fruit of the tree of life and offers it to all the lost children of Eve. The whole story of the Fall of Man is turned on its head! Reversed! Re-born! Instead of plucking forbidden fruit, she will offer the Fruit of her womb to be hung from the branches of a tree; specifically a cross. No serpent, but the Son of Man, will hang in its branches, and Mary will behold her Son and know that fulfillment has come to the prophecy given to Eve that her seed will crush the serpents head.
Is it any wonder that John would leap in the womb of Elizabeth? Is it any wonder that Mary is still hailed and called blessed?