The Visitation – acknowledgement of the unborn child’s individuality

In a recent Helpers Facebook post we commented on our call to recognize neighbor when we said, “We are called to look for Christ in our neighbor. Does that include the unborn neighbor? The unborn St. John the Baptist thought so and leaped for joy in his mother’s womb.” This reflection was based on a snippet from Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth. Let us look further at this 2nd Joyful Mystery and ponder its’ recognition of the unborn child as a separate individual.

Upon hearing Mary’s voice, the in-womb infant John leaps and Elizabeth not only feels the movement of her unborn child, but by acknowledging  John’s individuality in that split second, she is able to perceive the reason for his joy. And thereby like John, she too is graced and filled with the Holy Spirit.

The modern world wants us to believe its misconception (pun intended) that the child in the womb is nothing more than a clump of cells.  A world view that wants to focus solely on the woman, as if this was the ONLY individual involved.

But we can see in this Visitation, Elizabeth reaffirming Mary’s faith in the Father’s word, and recognizing Mary, not merely as a woman, but bestowing upon Mary a higher title, that of Mother.  However, Elizabeth does not stop there.  She goes even further and acknowledges the unborn child in Mary’s womb as her Lord.  A completely separate individual from the Mother. An individual not only belonging to the Mother, but a Savior, both God and man, belonging to Elizabeth as well.

Here are the readings where we can see this all unfold:screen shot 2019-01-05 at 9.28.41 am

Mary Visits Elizabeth.

39During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit,s42 cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.t43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord* should come to me?44For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.45 Blessed are you who believed* that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”u