Pope Likens the Visitation to a Eucharistic Procession

Benedict XVI Offers Meditation at Rosary

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Mary's visitation to her cousin Elizabeth was in a certain sense the first Eucharistic procession in history, says Benedict XVI.



On Tuesday, the last day of May, the Pope joined the conclusion of the rosary, which many faithful prayed in the Vatican Gardens, led by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the vicar general for Vatican City State.

Noting that Pope John Paul II liked to recall Mary as the "Eucharistic woman," Benedict XVI noted that that day the liturgy celebrated the feast of the Blessed Virgin's visitation to Elizabeth.

"Carrying the recently conceived Jesus in her womb, Mary goes to visit her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, whom everyone considered sterile, and yet she had reached the sixth month of a gestation gifted by God," Benedict XVI said.

"She is a young maiden, but she is not afraid, because God is with her, within her," he said. "In a certain sense, we can say that her trip was -- we like to underline it in this Year of the Eucharist -- the first Eucharistic procession in history.

"When she enters Elizabeth's home, her greeting is brimming with grace: John leaps with joy in his mother's womb, as if perceiving the coming of the One whom he will have to announce to Israel."

A Magnificat

"The sons exult, the mothers exult," the Pope said. "This meeting, full of joy of the Spirit, finds its expression in the canticle of the Magnificat."

He asked: "Is not this also the joy of the Church, which receives Christ incessantly in the holy Eucharist and takes him to the world with the testimony of active charity, full of faith and hope?

"Yes, to receive Jesus and to take him to others is the true joy of the Christian! Let us follow and imitate Mary, profoundly Eucharistic soul, and our whole life will become a Magnificat."