On Sunday, May 31, the Church honors the Feast of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when, according to the first chapter of St. Luke, Mary traveled to the hill country of Judea to be with her cousin Elizabeth, who was expecting John the Baptist.
“But wait one hot minute,” you say. “I was at Mass this weekend, and we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity!”
Why, yes. Yes, you did. And so did I. Because … celebrating The Most Holy Trinity trumps a Feast day, as well it should! The triune God – majestic, mysterious, and sovereign – can and does trump whatever, whenever.
But. The 31st remains as the Feast of the Visitation, and while we didn’t necessarily celebrate it at Mass this year, there are many reasons we as women should not only ponder its importance in our hearts, but use our feminine genius to keep its lessons alive in our homes and communities.
How may we keep the spirit of the Visitation alive today? Anytime we are kind, considerate, and charitable, thinking of others and putting their needs before our own, we are definitely living out the call of the Visitation. I like to think Our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth are particularly pleased when we take special care of expectant mothers, as they were both pregnant when they got together.
Here’s a short list to inspire your own ideas for assisting pregnant Moms:
- Offer to take your friend’s children for a couple of hours so she may rest. If you can, make it a regular calendar item so she can count on that respite throughout her pregnancy. Also extremely helpful is caring for her children so she can go to her medical appointments unencumbered. Bonus points if you allow her time to get lunch or another quick errand before she returns!
- Have a Mass or other dedicated prayers offered for the expectant Mom you know. Invite her to attend Mass (no pressure) if it’s offered at a parish nearby, or send her a card letting her know she is being prayed for in this special way if she lives far away.
- Pick up Mom’s shopping list and return with the groceries! Know her well? Pick up a few of your friend’s favorite things to enjoy, guilt-free. Freshly-cut fruit is usually a welcome treat, but other things (fresh flowers come to mind) are lovely, too!
- Is Mama-to-be a reader? Dianna at the Kennedy Adventures has some great suggestions here for you to give or send to your friend’s e-reader. One of my favorites is Sarah Reinhard’s book that walks with an expectant mother (with Mary, natch!) from conception to baptism.
- If Mom is a spa-lover, a gift certificate for a pedicure or other beauty service can make her feel pampered and special.
- Spiritually adopt a pregnant Mom you’ve met online or otherwise – let her know you’re praying a novena, rosary, or whatever devotion you choose specifically for her and her intentions.
- Don’t know any real-life expectant Moms? Volunteer some time at your local pregnancy resource center, or donate new or gently used items according to the agency’s needs. Not sure how you may help? Call or email and offer your services!
- Set up a meal train to provide dinners (or breakfasts, or snacks) for the expecting family so Mom doesn’t have to worry about this. Be sure to collaborate with Mom regarding allergies and preferences before you get the train rolling.
- Organize a baby shower – even virtually – for Moms who could use it. Sometimes Moms of many actually need new baby things as their other children have used them up yet they may feel reluctant to ask for help.
- Pregnancy can be a very isolating time in a woman’s life due to illness, fatigue, hormone fluctuations, and unexpected complications. Offer to keep in touch with your pregnant friend, and then do it! Text, email, write and mail a letter, make a phone call – connect in a way that is meaningful to her and keep at it throughout her pregnancy and beyond.
Not sure what you can do to help or need different ideas? Encourage your friend to tell you what she needs, and then find a way to make it happen.
How is God calling you to keep the spirit of the Visitation alive today? Ask our Blessed Mother and her cousin Elizabeth for their intercession to, through the working of the Holy Spirit, inspire your actions! I’d love to hear your ideas, too!
Eternal Father, you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need. Keep us open to the working of your Spirit, and with Mary may we praise you forever. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Copyright 2015 Heather Renshaw.
Photo courtesy of Anthony and Amanda Sloan.