Joy

Visitation by Domenico Ghirlandaio (c. 1491), Musée du Louvre, Paris

Visitation by Domenico Ghirlandaio (c. 1491), Musée du Louvre, Paris

"And how does it happen that the Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy." (Luke 1:43)

Read and ponder the Scripture verse. Use the painting to help you imagine the scene. Rest in it for a few moments and savor it. That is, without analyzing, what word(s) or image(s) stand out from among the rest? What resonates with you?

Read it the verse again, slower than the first time. Let the following questions lead you into a deeper understanding of the Visitation, which the Catholic Church celebrates today.

"And how does it happen that the Lord should come to me?"  How does the Lord approach you? How do you notice that God is present in your life? How is God present in you at this very moment?

"For the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears . . ." Imagine that Jesus approaches you. How does he come? Does he come amidst choirs of angels, glorious and triumphant? Does he come to you as a humble carpenter? Does he come to you, held by his mother? How does Jesus greet you? What words does he say to you? What do they sound like? What is your response to Jesus' greeting?

"...the infant in my womb leaped for joy." Recall a time when you been overwhelmed with great joy. Try to remember as many details about that moment as possible. Where in your body did you feel it? Localize it somewhere on your body. Let this be your focus.

Sit in this joy for a while; direct your mind and your thoughts to that focus. If stray thoughts distract you, gently redirect your mind to your focus, and let the thoughts drift away. When you are ready, gently expand your awareness to the rest of your body, then to your surroundings.

Read the Scripture verse a third and final time. Ask yourself: How will I share my joy with others? Take in a deep breath and exhale gratitude, for you are delightful to God.

Amen.