Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Feast Day of the Visitation for Moderns

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, the day when Mary goes to her older cousin Elizabeth. Both are miraculously pregnant, Mary with Jesus, Elizabeth with John the Baptist. For more on this feast day, head on over to this post on my theology blog.

I know that many of us do not celebrate feast days, even those of us who are Christians.  But this day offers so many possibilities that I cannot resist offering some suggestions for what you might do today:

--Every feast day needs food traditions, so today, I'd encourage us to nourish ourselves as if we're pregnant with a child who will go on to save the world, and thus needs a good head start. Today is a great day to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Enjoy the finest protein. Drink an extra glass of milk--but because it's a festival day, make it a milkshake in your favorite flavor.

--Ask yourself why you don't show this level of self-care every day. And be gentle and realistic with yourself. Buy some multi-vitamins for future days when you don't have time to stock up on nourishing food or when you don't have time to eat. Today is a good day to make a resolution that those days will be few and far between.
--Elizabeth was a member of an older generation.  She helped out her younger cousin.  Think about the younger generation who looks to you for similar guidance. Write an encouraging note, e-mail, Facebook post, or Tweet. Think of other ways you might serve as a shepherd for the next generation: tutoring, reading in the schools, leading a Scout troop, getting involved with a group that speaks to your heart, donating money to a group that does good work--the list is as varied as we humans.
--We've all been helped along the way, and today is a good day to think about our elders.  If those helpful Elizabeths are still alive, write a thank you note or call them to say thanks.

----Today is a good day to spend some time in discernment.  God called Mary, and she said yes.  God called Elizabeth, and she said yes.  God had a larger vision for them than they could have imagined for themselves.  Imagine that the angel Gabriel appears to you with a special request from God.  What is that request?

----We could practice seeing the presence of God, or the evidence of God's great generosity, which is all around us.   We could write down what we see, or take photographs, or record in some way the gifts that God gives us.  That way, we'll have a record for days when it's hard to remember our gratitude.

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