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.
~ Collect for the Feast of The Visitation (BCP pg. 240)
The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God, who sits enthroned on high,
but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?
Rowan Williams, from Ponder These Things: Praying with Icons of the Virgin:
“What we call holy in the world – a person, a place, a set of words or pictures – is so because it is a transitional place, a borderland, where the completely foreign is brought together with the familiar. Here is somewhere that looks as if it belongs within the world we are at home in, but in fact it leads directly into strangeness … most importantly, there is the person who stands on the frontier between promise and fulfillment, between earth and heaven, between the two Testaments: Mary. That she can be represented in so many ways, thought about and imagined in so many forms, is an indication of how deeply she speaks to us about the hope for the world’s transfiguration through Jesus; how she stands for the making strange of what is familiar and the homeliness of what is strange. After all, it is she who literally makes a home for the Creator of all things, the strangest reality we can conceive, in her own body and in her own house, she whom we meet again and again in the Gospels struggling with the strangeness of her son, from the finding in the Temple to the station at the cross.”
Alleluia. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us: Come let us adore him. Alleluia.