The Visitation of Our Lady (1 B.C.) to the house of Elizabeth and Zachary, the mother and father of Saint John the Baptist. As soon as Mary, the spouse of Saint Joseph, had learned from an angel that, as she had conceived a Child virginally, so Elizabeth, her cousin, had conceived one miraculously, she made haste to go and visit Elizabeth. Mary arrived at the house of Elizabeth at Ain Karim, a little town southwest of Jerusalem, on April 2. She stayed there for three months. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the phrase, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” It was standing in the door of Elizabeth’s house that Our Lady sang her great canticle, the Magnificat. Mary waited for the birth of John the Baptist on June 24, and left for Nazareth on July 2, the day after Saint John the Baptist was circumcised and given his name. This day, the day of Mary’s leaving Elizabeth, is celebrated as the feast of the Visitation
Mary’s visit to Elizabeth was the greatest visit paid by anyone to anyone in the history of the world. All Catholics call it, in simple reference, the Visitation. The moment Mary, with Jesus in her womb, entered the house of Elizabeth, on April 2, John the Baptist was sanctified in his mother’s womb. He received at that moment the use of reason, and for three months antecedent to his birth, he knew, in humility and love, Who was dwelling in his house. He also knew his own purpose as the Precursor of Christ
John the Baptist was born six month before Jesus. John the Baptist was martyred one year before Jesus. The day Jesus was born, the days begin to increase. The day John the Baptist was born, they begin to decrease. “He must increase and I must decrease,” is the beautiful way this seasonal fact is referred to in liturgical love in Holy Scripture by Saint John the Baptist.