The second joyful mystery of the most holy rosary is The Visitation. According to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, this is when the Blessed Mother, being pregnant with the divine savior of the world, travels in haste to a town of Judah to assist her cousin Elizabeth, also pregnant. This joyful encounter between the two cousins and expectant mothers would forever change the course of history. Upon seeing Mary and hearing her voice, Elizabeth cries in a loud voice, “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Lk: 1:42)
Mary, being pregnant with The Way, The Truth, and The Life, offers this gift to the world. She is the first disciple and the first evangelizer. Mary joyfully brings the Good News to all. Elizabeth, knowing the significance of this encounter with her cousin, appropriately proclaims, “How does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk: 1:43) For Elizabeth was honored and extremely touched that Mary would come to her to be of assistance in the last few months of her pregnancy. She felt that it should have been her coming to help Mary.
However, God’s divine plan was exactly the way He willed it. His chosen daughter, this obedient young maiden, would be an example for all the world. She would not only bring the Messiah into the world, but she would also bring the rest of her children, you and I included, to the Messiah. Mary always surrenders her own will to the holy will of God the Father, thus showing all of humanity the way to her divine son. The Blessed Mother faithfully leads us closer to Christ so that our lives may be more rooted in our savior. Our love and devotion to Mary, just like Elizabeth’s salutation, never ends with her, but culminate in her son. Mary always guides us to her son.
With that in mind, Mary’s service to God is ongoing. She works for the kingdom and will conclude only when her son returns in all His glory. God has allowed Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus, to visit us – Lourdes, Fatima, Knock, Guadalupe, etc. Although these are considered private revelations, they have been approved by Holy Mother Church. The graces from these visits can, and often do, strengthen the faith of the believers. This is manifested in the good works or fruits of the benefactors of the heavenly grace. Keep in mind, however, that private revelation can never become more important or replace public revelation (Sacred Scripture and Tradition). Its primary purpose is to point back to the public revelations of Jesus Christ.
God continues to pour out His heavenly graces even today in many places around the world using His chosen daughter Mary, the Mother of God, as an instrument. I believe one of those ways is through a young lady, wife, and mother, named Carolyn Belprez Kwiecinski. Since December of 1996, the Holy Mother of God has spoken through Carolyn, giving messages to her prayer group. As this prayer group grew in number, it was moved into St. Mary Catholic Church with the permission of the Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing, with extreme caution. The bishop wanted to make sure that the messages were free from theological error and in harmony with Church doctrine. As the pastor of St. Mary Parish, I have very carefully observed and listened to their content, and have not found any wrong doing. They are simple messages calling us to holiness and to the sacramental life of the Church.
At this point, I do want to say that I do not want to make any judgement on the supernatural origins of Carolyn’s experiences or her messages. I remain obedient to the Magisterium and the wisdom of Holy Mother Church. The final decision on the messages’ origins is in the hands of the Church hierarchy.
Personally, however, these messages have had, and continue to have, an awesome impact on the lives of those in attendance. On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Carolyn has been sharing a message from the Blessed Mother and, at times, our Lord has spoken through her. The messages to the prayer group have been challenging and uplifting. They are encouraging us to truly become the children of faith that God desires for each and every one of us. Mary, the Mother of God, reminds us how precious the gift of faith is and we are to always grow in that faith by surrendering our lives to the will of the Father. On each visit, she reveals the light of God on the prism of the gift of faith, showing to us the many spectrums of color in our relationship to God. As Christians, sons and daughters of God, we are called to a more complete conversion and a richer and more personal relationship with Jesus.
As St. John states, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (Jn 3:17-18) The choice is ours and our choice will shape our eternal destiny. To accept Jesus is to choose for salvation. To reject Jesus is to bring upon ourselves condemnation. Mary, sent by God, comes to help us choose life in Christ, her son.
Yes, like any loving mother, she wants the best for her children. She desires for us to completely fall in love, and remain united in love, with the Triune God. Since her visitation to St. Mary Parish, the members of the prayer group, like St. Elizabeth, have often said, “Who are we that the Mother of our Lord should come to us?” What a tremendous blessing upon our parish and the prayer group. I have witnessed many great fruits from her visits – a deeper love for the Holy Eucharist, an increase in prayer, greater use of the sacraments, stronger marriages, more penances and sacrifices, etc. I am aware of many souls drawn to Christ and the sacraments since Carolyn’s arrival in August of 1999.
In closing, I give thanks to Almighty God, for He is truly kind and merciful. We must always thank Him with grateful hearts. May we follow the example of Mary, who is the perfect model of discipleship. We pray to her to always help us love and commit our lives to her son as she did.
May 31, 2002
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fr. Kenneth F. Coughlin
Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church