31 May 2014

Mary teaches us to make haste toward the prize

Church of St. John the Baptist, Quincy, Illinois
As we celebrate today the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we recall that day we she "set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth" (Luke 1:39-40). It is one of those feasts that always bring my mind back to home parish of Saint John the Baptist in Quincy, Illinois (which became All Saints Parish and is now Blessed Sacrament Parish), the church of which had such beautiful windows depicting the joyful and glorious mysteries of the rosary.

In his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Saint Bonaventure reflects on the meaning of these two verses:
Spiritually, now, from this we are given to understand that haste is necessary for the person who wants to attain perfection, as we find in Hebrews 4:11: "Let us make haste to enter into that rest." Also in I Corinthians 9:24 we find: "So run, that you may attain the prize." A negative example is found in what Matthew 25:11 says of the foolish virgins: "They came too late." See also Sirach 5:8: "Do not tarry in converting to the Lord, and do not put it off from day to day" (1.73).
In his little book, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI rightly asked, "How many Christians make haste today, where the things of God are concerned? Surely if anything merits haste - so the evangelist is discreetly telling us - then it is the things of God" (79).

Today, then, let us ask Mary to teach us to make haste toward the things of God so that, with her, we, too, might proclaim the salvation of the Lord.

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