Today is the feast day of Saint Elizabeth of John the Baptist, our patron saint at Mighty Is Her Call. Elizabeth had once been called “barren” and then miraculously become a sign of God’s abundance—first in her own life as a mother, and then in the purposes of the Church. The fulfillment of God’s beautiful plan came through the birth of the prophet John and, ultimately, in Christ’s coming. Beyond Elizabeth’s own heartaches, in equal and quite opposite proportion, God fulfills a plan beyond what she could have thought or imagined. Dear mothers, the same is true for you and me. God is in the business of taking our barren and broken dreams and breathing the Holy Spirit right into the core of our being. He is bringing about the abundant work of Christ. This is the ‘mighty call’ of transforming truth.
When the archangel Gabriel foretells Jesus’s birth, he reminds Mary of God’s power in Elizabeth’s life—Nothing will be impossible for God (Lk 1:37). Then in Luke it says, Mary arose and went in a hurry to visit Elizabeth. They were cousins and undoubtedly, they were friends; but why did Mary purpose to make this trip of hundreds of miles to embrace Elizabeth in particular? Why not visit a neighbor or talk this over with Joseph more at length? Mary went with great haste and with determination. She went because she realized God had graced her with a role in his plan! This was her moment, her fiat! She needed to talk to a woman, a mother, who had embraced God at his word. In the very face of heartbreaking circumstances and what the world deemed impossible, Elizabeth had embraced a transcendent passion—a faith in the far-reaching plans of God. This is the faith that transforms hearts in the midst of circumstances.
Mary makes the most pivotal surrender in all of salvation history when, in true humility, she realizes God has a plan—a role that she can play beyond that of her own making. She, too, accepts her role in the midst of unlikely circumstances. She does not entirely know what it entails or even how it will unfold in detail, but the news of the angel Gabriel has gripped her from the heavens.
Mary is determined to connect with Elizabeth who knows what it is like to fall in love with the spiritual purposes of God. Imagine for a moment their joyful embrace. Saint Elizabeth’s salutation is recorded in the Gospel of Luke: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished (Lk 1:41-43).
Over two thousand years later, every time we pray the Rosary we reference the Visitation. It is because Elizabeth and Mary aren’t just making up their path, their own version of successful motherhood and life plans. They embraced the sacred joy of the Gospel—You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you; and have ordained you, that you should go and should bring forth fruit (Jn 15:16).
This story of Elizabeth and Mary is the story of you and I. If you are like me, you have faced the pain of heartache, devastating loss, and unfulfilled dreams in your own story. You may feel like the most unlikely candidate called to fulfill the epic call of God’s goodness. You may even wonder and cry out in your heart today over the areas of your motherhood that appear barren and void of possibility. Let us, together, embrace one another in joy over of the transforming power of God at work in our lives. We need one another to witness to the power of Christ working within. Together we are part of a great, sublime kingdom-plan. We have been called far beyond our own schemes, projects, or ideas by Christ himself into the Eucharistic life of motherhood. Come, Holy Spirit!