Had Mary and Elizabeth ever met before the visitation recorded in today’s lectionary reading from Luke? Did they know of each other through stories from their parents? Whatever their previous knowledge or acquaintance, this particular visit lasting three months cemented their friendship. Hardly had Mary finished her greeting, when Elizabeth “filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” Perhaps Mary was relieved that Elizabeth recognized her as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary could save the details of the Angel Gabriel’s appearance for later. They would have three months of intimate, deeply spiritual conversation. Artists’ renderings of the visitation portray the two women in a warm reverent hug, while their eyes suggest experiencing something mysterious and holy beyond themselves.

I hope you have a deep spiritual friendship. If so, “blessed are you.”

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