The Visitation of Mary...and Brother Gregory!
This is probably the first time in recent liturgical history that today we have a “conflict” in celebrating our Lady under 2 different aspects. Usually, since today is the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart we would be celebrating the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, today is May 31st which is the feast of the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth. Since the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a memorial and the Visitation is a feast the Visitation wins out.
May’s Immaculate Heart is not forgotten however. Today for the recessional of Mass we sang an old English hymn about Our Lady and one of the verses tells us that Mary bears Jesus under her heart which was the very beautiful way in which pregnancy was spoken of in the medieval period.
As though rejoicing in meeting between Elizabeth and Mary and their 2 Children were not enough we had the joy today of having Bro. Gregory Schnakenberg, OP with us serving as deacon at Holy Mass. Bro. Gregory's family lives in nearby Mountainside and so every year when he comes home for a visit we have the privilege of having him on the altar.
As Dominican Nuns consecrated to the contemplation of the Word and praying for the success of the Holy Preaching of our Brothers, having our Brothers with us is always special. We feel privileged to first meet them as novices, a bit nervous and not knowing quite what to say. Then they come after Profession and serve at the altar. Soon enough, they return and serve as deacons often more nervous preaching to us than to their razor sharp Brothers at the Studium. And then finally the great day comes when they return to offer a First Mass for their Sisters. Just as Mary carried Jesus under her heart, we too carry our Brothers under our hearts, and in our prayers making their ordination day one in which we feel, that through the mystery of our vocation we have had an intimate part in nurturing and helping bring it to fruition.