This day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and today the Church remembers when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth.
Traditionally, it is believed that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox. This would mean that Mary left Nazareth somewhere around the end of March, traveling over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who became the mother of John the Baptist. The exact date of this feast has moved around a bit over the years but most of the Church celebrates it on the last day of May, currently. This date follows the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) and precedes the Birthday of John the Baptist (June 24).
This visit is recorded in Luke 1:39-56. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Mary responds with the famous song of praise which we call the Magnificat, beginning, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord."
This is a very powerful image. Luke tells us that facing each other, are two very special women. One everyone thought too old to bear a child, yet giving birth to the last prophet of the Old Covenant. Next to her, is Mary, her young cousin, apparently not ready to have a child, yet bringing the very One Who would sweep in the Kingdom of God. Can you imagine a more clear example of the great change that was coming?
Feasts of Mary are generally entwined with the saving work of Jesus but in this case, Jesus Himself, and His cousin John garner attention after their mothers meet in Spirit-filled happiness. In the second part of this little drama, we can easily overlook, the change that is coming and the two men (now babies) are starting their mission. We see a strong foreshadowing of what is to come.
I wonder if St. Joseph accompanied Mary to Hebron? Did he leave her there and come back to get her in three months? Perhaps it was during this time that the angel returned to tell Joseph that Mary's Baby was from God and he should continue with his plans to take as his wife. Maybe it was in this time that Joseph learned that the Child Mary carried was the Son of God (we see this in Matthew 1:19-25). I suppose I will have to ask him when I get there! ;)
Father in heaven, by Your grace the Virgin Mother of Your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing Him, but still more blessed in keeping Your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to Your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.