The Visitation refers to the time when Mary, receiving the news from the angel Gabriel that she was going to become the mother of Jesus as well as that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby, rushed to her elder cousin’s side. Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert (Ave Maria Press, 2015) is an in-depth look at this event, inviting readers to learn from both of these holy women.
Mary and Elizabeth shared nine gifts that we are encouraged to emulate: spontaneity, courage, joy, readiness, humility, a spirit of adventure, hospitality, wonder and awe, and thanksgiving. Bossert explores how both of these women demonstrate these qualities. While so much has been written on Mary, and rightfully so, it is interesting and valuable to view the visitation from Elizabeth’s point of view as well. Bossert does this with great tenderness and insight.
Each chapter includes a reflection and prayer. In keeping with the theme of nine, a novena is also included which one may choose to pray while reading the book over a course of nine days.
Bossert is a convert to the Catholic faith. The daughter of a Protestant minister, this was not an easy journey for her to take, and she willingly admits that Mary was a huge stumbling block. The story of how she came to appreciate and esteem Mary so much that she wrote a book about her is well worth reading!
Mary and Elizabeth “knew how to serve one another, for love of God.” God gave them the grace they needed for their respective spiritual journeys which changed the world. We can rest in the knowledge that God provides us with what we need as well. In reading and reflecting on “The Gifts of the Visitation” we can seek to imitate these amazing women and carry out God’s will for us in our own lives.