The Visitation of the Theotokos To Elizabeth and the Hidden Human-Divine Encounter

The feast of the Visitstion of the Most Holy Theotokos to St. Elizabeth, which falls today for Orthodox Christians, is a wonderful celebration of both spiritual and familial kinship and of the reality of unborn life and personhood.

The little icon, missed by many people, at the back of the Anglican  shrine-church in Walsingham, captures the joy of the encounter, which we know to also have been the meeting of the Saviour and the Forerunner within their mothers’ wombs, with the Forerunner leaping in recognition of his Saviour and Creator’s Presence.

Life-unborn lept for joy at the Presence of the Life of the God-Man, not yet born or incarnate in the world.

This great meeting of the Only-Begotten Son of God and the unborn Forerunner is one which we boldly need to thrust before those who insistently claim to be ‘Christians’, yet refuse to take a Christian stance on the sanctity or even the reality of life, personhood and individuality from conception.

The centre of the wondrous meeting in this feast of the Visitation is one hidden from our eyes in traditional icons: the unseen encounter of creation and creature with the Creator, within the new Holy of Holies: the sanctuary of the womb of the Mother of God.

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