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For Your Marriage

Married for 20 years and the proud parents of five children, Soren and Ever are co-founders of Trinity House Community, a Catholic nonprofit with a mission to inspire families to make home a small taste of heaven for the renewal of faith and culture.

Preparing for Our Summer “Visitations”

As we move more into the heart of summer, that means lots of visiting and hosting!

In our own family, we often talk about hospitality as the “crown of our Trinity House” (or domestic church), because so many good things come together when a family hosts and serves.

Your calendar is probably filling up with visits and hosting, so it’s the perfect time to invite you to reflect with us on one of our favorite feasts: the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We love this feast for a number of reasons:

  • The sheer excitement of this moment in salvation history, when Mary “set off in haste” to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
  • The stunning moment of John the Baptist leaping in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting.
  • The tie to the Feast of Pentecost, as we hear Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” cry out, “Most blessed are you among women…”
  • The inexpressible beauty of Mary’s Magnificat, proclaimed in the Gospel reading for the Visitation.

Each of these moments provides enough material for a powerful meditation. And even one glance at these Visitation paintings over many centuries (Pinterest) is enough to remind us that this was a significant turning point in all of history.

So how is your family’s humble hospitality—the “crown” of your home or domestic church—connected to the Visitation?

Before we attempt to answer that, let’s first consider the stark backdrop:

  • According to studies, we host less and less each year.
  • The pandemic accelerated this trend—rendering us even more distant from our ne/neighbors, friends, and family.
  • With ongoing inflation, we have yet another rationalization to think that visiting and hosting is “impractical.”

We all get this. Most families have gotten out of practice when it comes to visiting or hosting friends for a drink, cookout, or game night. Busy and overcommitted, our hospitality muscles have atrophied. As we’ve prioritized other things (more resume-building extracurriculars, more work, more media…), hospitality has slipped to the bottom as an “extra.”

But if that describes our family, then we need to admit that we’re missing out. After all, in Christian families who host regularly, the children are more likely to keep the faith as adults, according to a recent Barna study. In such homes, the kids see the faith lived out in a relevant way, serving others in a way that meets real needs and creates community.

Which brings us back to the Visitation. As we seek to do more hosting and visiting this summer, let’s try to take the Visitation to heart in some practical ways:

  • When you host, consider how Elizabeth opened her home to Mary. In the little ways we prepare for our guests, we can ask the Lord for his grace.
  • When you visit, consider how Mary received Elizabeth’s hospitality. For many, it’s not easy to be on the receiving end—but that’s part of the beauty of such encounters.
  • Whether you’re hosting or visiting, consider how Mary and Elizabeth’s encounter was life-changing. Rather than going on auto-pilot, invite the Holy Spirit into these visits, being attentive to His transforming power.

“What makes a ‘visitation’ different from a simple visit?” the Magnificat monthly devotional asks in reference to the Feast of the Visitation. It continues,

A visitation carries with it a special meaning, a purpose of bestowing something exceptional. In the Visitation, that meaning is not a message but rather the exceptional presence of the Son—the Savior—she carries within her womb…

In the weeks and months ahead, may we be open to the Holy Spirit, whose grace can transform our simple visits into visitations of special meaning!

Come, Holy Spirit!