Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Visitation

The Visitation of Elizabeth by Mary

Now in these days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town of Judah. And she entered the home of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe in her womb leapt and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry and said, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And whence this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me? For behold, when the sound of thy salutation fell on mine ears, the babe in my womb leapt with gladness. And blessed art thou who hast believed, for what the Lord promised thee shall be accomplished.”
And Mary said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath exulted in God my Savior, because he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaid: Yea, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he who is mighty hath wrought great things for me, and holy is his name.”
- Luke 1:39-49 

In the painting, Elizabeth’s mature age is represented by the tree with fruit behind her, while behind Mary is a young tree in flower. The mysterious knowledge of the coming of Christ is first known by the unborn babe and then by his mother Elizabeth. Thus the sacred things are revealed first to the innocent one who represents the mysterious inner life within us all.