By: Sister Elizabeth Therese, O.C.D.
A chaplain we once had used to say, “People will not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.” We do not know the actual words of Mary’s greeting when she arrived at the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, but we do know the impact it had on Elizabeth. She responded to Mary with humility, “who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” and with joy, “at the sound of Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped for joy in her womb.”
Paintings of the Visitation show their embrace and the intensity in which they look at each other. There is a feeling that nothing could or would be allowed to distract this encounter. What is most important at this moment is the presence of the other. Have you ever experienced this when you have something you are excited to share or in your struggle need someone to listen? And that person communicates that ‘you are the most important person right now’ by the way they have stopped what they are doing, turned their body toward you with an intense gaze? If so, you have just received the gift of presence.
We live in a world that suffers from isolation but we prefer texting rather than talking to the person or we choose the automated check-out rather than experience an encounter of the cashier in the express line. Today take the opportunity to give a person the gift of presence – stop, turn toward the person, look and really listen – which communicates to the other ‘you are treasured.’