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Gifts of the Visitation, by Denise Bossert - Book Review

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Gifts of the Visitation – Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth, by Denise Bossert, is filled with virtue! I thoroughly enjoyed how Bossert took Luke’s accounting of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and highlighted all the virtue contained within it (Luke 1: 39-80). Bossert devotes nine chapters to discuss nine virtues; so beautifully brought to life in her book. She brings a whole new, refreshing outlook to this passage. From Mary’s spontaneous yes, to her courage needed to fulfill God’s word, to the thanksgiving Mary expresses to God for entrusting her with such an important honor, we traverse with Mary to visit Elizabeth.

As a mother herself, Denise Bossert, correlates stories from her own life with Luke’s Gospel passage. She peppers her life’s stories; intertwined with the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. The reality of Denise Bossert’s life makes the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth that much more enchanting and meaningful.

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'You are witnesses of these things.' Sunday Reflections, The Ascension of the Lord, Year C

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The Ascension of Christ, Rembrandt, 1636

The Solemnity of the Ascension
Gospel Luke 24:46-53 NRSV, Catholic
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

When I went home to Ireland on vacation from the Philippines in 1994 before beginning six years as vocation director I took a short course for missionaries in the use of computers given by a religi…

Protected Vulnerability by Nancy HC Ward

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Our neighbor, Maria Magdalena, whom we know and love as Magda, died alone in the middle of the night. Her lungs collapsed from a respiratory infection after a bout with the flu. We prepared food for many of her family when they came in from Mexico.

After her husband, Adrian, drowned in the lake behind our homes almost 5 years ago she was too sad to worship at the Romanian Baptist Church where they had married 19 years ago. She was active in a nearby Bible church with others in the neighborhood.

At the visitation we were a little surprised that a Hispanic deacon we know was there to say the Rosary. But of course, those from Mexico needed to say those prayers. It is part of their culture, part of who they are, and who Magda was as a child. The deacon alternated between Spanish and English decades. We were the only ones in our area of the chapel saying the decades.

The row of teachers from the school where Magda taught first grade, all remained seated in front of us. I just …

My Visitations

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I often reflect upon Mary's visitation to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56).  I think about the fact that the original scene probably attracted little attention from observers.  Two women, two relatives, greeted one another.  It was something that happened all the time.   

No one watching would have shouted out: "Quick!  Come see!   Here's a scene that will be written about in the Bible!"  

Mary visited Elizabeth because both had first BEEN Visited - Mary in a totally unique way, of course.  She came to Elizabeth carrying God Himself within her.... (continue)

'The babe in my womb leaped for joy'

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The Visitation, El Greco, painted1610-13
El Greco captures the swirling dance of life in today's gospel. When the babe in Elizabeth's womb, St John the Baptist, leaped for joy upon the arrival of his cousin Jesus, in the womb of Mary. St Luke tells us twice that the infant in Elizabeth's womb leaped.
My friend Lala below, feeding her friend Jordan, wasn't a source of joy to her mother when she was born 31 years ago. Her mother, probably in great distress but perhaps with hope in her heart, left her newborn baby in a garbage pail where she was found and taken to the orphanage of the Daughters of Charity in Cebu City. today she lives in the L'Arche community in Cainta, Rizal, part of the great urban sprawl of Metro Manila.
Lala is certainly a source of joy to all who know her. Jordan, born with multiple disabilities, has been in the L'Arche community for most of his life.
While Lala didn't have to go 'with haste into the hill country' to take care of Jor…