Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “Your are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is is that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”
Our society suffers from a deprivation of true beauty. This may sound strange to say in a culture that is so visual and becoming more so by each passing day but this is exactly the crux of the matter. We are glutted with false beauty and deprived of true beauty. 24/7 images are thrown at us purporting to represent true beauty, but in fact they do not. Our souls are left famished. False beauty empties the soul just as it promises to bring fulfillment. (It can be compared to that sick-in-the-gut feeling left over after having downed a bag of potato chips when you could have had an apple instead.)
Luke tells us that immediately after hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth, filled with holy spirit, correctly interprets the movement of joy of the child in her own womb and asks, “How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Lk. 1:43) Here in this one short verse is found a rich testament to the insight of faith. Elizabeth gives witness to the lordship of Mary’s child before Mary even has a chance to say a word regarding her own pregnancy.
I have altered the icon from the original, not intentionally though. In the original icon – on Elizabeth’s left arm that embraces Mary there is a red sleeve. I did not notice this in the original image I copied from and left the sleeve out. Now Elizabeth’s arm is bare – the sleeve pushed up. I like this though. We “roll up” our sleeves when we are busy, when we have work to do. I can imagine Elizabeth busy about the work of the day when Mary arrives. Immediately this work is left behind as Elizabeth embraces her cousin in welcome!
“… the most important tree in the desert is the tree of genealogy. Every tribe is a tree, and man in the desert defines himself as a branch of the tree. … The branch cannot have life without the tree nor the tree without roots or the stable foundation in time. … Man is therefore man only by reason of his genealogy.” (Professor Wael Farouq – professor of Arabic at the American University in Cairo – quoted by Archbishop Migliori, “Catholicism and Islam: Points of Convergence and Divergence”, Origins, Vol. 37, No. 26)