Today is the Feast of the Visitation. Mary had just received the news that she had been chosen to bear the Incarnation of God, the Word Made Flesh. She must have been bewildered yet her faith was so strong she gave her Fiat: May it be done according to your word!
Yet she spent little time dwelling on what she had just gotten herself into. Her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant. With no hesitation she set aside her own circumstances and made haste to be by Elizabeth's side. Elizabeth was her kinswoman. Becoming the Mother of God was not going to keep her away.
In today's culture, it is hard enough to keep the nuclear family of Mom, Dad and children together much less extend it across generations. Yet our Domestic Church is meant to reach across the nuclear family lines to all whom God has placed in our family trees.
Recently, thanks to two college graduations (one undergraduate and one Masters degree) I was blessed to have a great many members of my family tree visiting at once. The ages spanned from 1 to 84. It was a raucous chaotic time. The house had not been so noisy in years and it was delightful. We laughed together. We played together. We ate together. We prayed together. Nothing made me happier than when we all went to Mass together.
While we adults love each other and enjoy spending time together, the spark of my three grandchildren made the visit magical. The aunt and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents were showered with that innocent, unconditional love of childhood. The children were enveloped in an equally beautiful love from all the adults. We were all better for having shared this special occasion with so many family members across four generations.
In our mobile society it is easy to grow distant from the relatives who are not in town. Perhaps this is a good feast day to reach out to an aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling, parent or grandparent who is out of sight. Mary did not let distance weaken her bond with Elizabeth. We should not let our family bonds wane even as distance grows.