Sr. Riccarda Lazzari
Visiting means: to get out of oneself, out of one’s selfishness, out of one’s interests to go toward someone, toward the God hidden in the other, the sick, the poor, and the needy.
The model is Mary, the Virgin of the Visitation.
- Getting out of oneself:
The Virgin leaves her home, her belongings, her commitments, and her affections and goes toward someone in need. Her heart and thoughts are projected toward the other and the other who is in difficulty.
- In haste
In describing Mary’s journey to Ain Karim, to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the evangelist Luke uses the term “in haste”: she does not waste time! Time is precious, so it is necessary to spend well the time that we have to live it meaningfully by doing good.
- A visit and presence
Before doing or talking, a visit is a gift of presence. A solicitous, loving, caring, person-oriented presence, it is the first and most excellent gift of visitation. The evangelist does not narrate Mary’s actions, he allows them to be intuitively understood; he declares, however, that Mary gives Elizabeth a significant presence that lasts three months.
The distinctive note that defines the visitation is precisely the person-to-person relationship. It is the person that one goes to visit. “One must get to the person, to the sufferings induced by the situation of illness, to the sentiments that animate her, to the secrets that torment her, to the loneliness she experiences.”
Visitation is an encounter between two people; it is a mutual gift, a gesture of love.
- The Virgin’s visit is announcement
Her goal is to bring “to the gathered Israel in the aged kinswoman,” the ‘Expected of the peoples, the promised Redeemer, the Love that saves, alive and throbbing in her mother’s womb. This is the theological-spiritual meaning of every visit to the sick, the suffering, and persons in distress: to proclaim the Lord who saves!
- Visiting is listening
In the long three-month visit to Elizabeth, Mary, in Luke’s account, speaks only twice. The rest is silence…… !. But it is precisely in that silence that Mary listens, welcomes, and loves. Oftentimes, the greatest need of those in suffering is to share with another the burden of their pain, etc.
- From listening to dialogue:
what to say, how to say, don’t be a teacher, with humility, etc.
- Visiting is service
Being human is, by its essence, lord and servant at the same time, no one can assume only one of these two roles and reject the other, because not only are they united in the innermost part of the person, but especially because in reality one is resolved in the other. The great figures of humanity are such insofar as they are servants.
Jesus, the son of God-made man, declared the meaning of his life on earth in these words, “I came not to be served but to serve,” thus revealing the meaning of every man’s life: to serve God and neighbor.
And the Virgin Mary by remaining three months beside her cousin Elizabeth made herself her servant, until the completion of the three months that is, the birth.