Today is also the Optional Memorial of Our Lady, so let us take a few moments to reflect on her, giving thanks for her role in the plan of God’s salvation of the human race.

St Ambrose commented on the visit of Our Lady to Elizabeth, from whence we have the Magnificat: ‘The Holy Spirit knows his word; He never forgets it, and the prophecy is realized not only in the miraculous facts, but in all rigour and property of terms. What is this fruit of the womb, except He from whom it was said, “Behold, the Lord giveth the inheritance of children, the reward of the fruit of the womb”? In other words, the Lord’s inheritance is children, the price of this fruit that comes from Mary’s womb. He is the fruit of the breast, the flower of the stem, of which Isaiah prophesied well: “A stem,” said he, “will rise from the stock of Jesse, and a flower spring from this stalk”: the stock is the race of the Jews, the stem Mary, the flower of Mary the Christ, who, like the fruit of a good tree, according to our progress in virtue, now flourishes, now fruiting in us, now reborn by the resurrection that brings life to his body’.

May Our Lady wrap us securely in her cloak of mercy this day, and may God bless you.