"What is there to life but this close, most intimate friendship with Jesus Christ whom I shall possess for all eternity. All other human loves flicker and go out along the human highway of life, but His love will endure forever. Every tombstone tells us the same story as cemetery dust waves requiem over the purest, most noble friendships here on earth. Only His love remains beneath the passing shadows."
~Sparks from His Heart, Fr. Frank Parrish, SJ
The Feast of the Visitation is a perfect image of the celebration of friendship. Here two great and holy women have incredible and amazing news to share. Mary and Elizabeth rush to each others' sides and their human love for one another escapes from their hearts and becomes a united prayer of love and gratitude to God. They recognize that the holiness, the goodness, and the joy of their friendship comes from God alone and that without His love, the miracle of the beginnings of new life welling up within their bodies could not occur.
Together, Mary and Elizabeth spend time talking, working, and praying. The physical presence of the other brings great comfort to these women who are both on the verge of a tremendous life change, something beyond their wildest imaginings. Life seems inexplicably beautiful.
At the same time, they know that this moment of close bonding will end and the time will come for them to part. Soon, Mary will have to return to her own home and they will have to carry on with their life's work and bring the great miracle of new life to fruition without the help of their close friend by their side. Yet deep inside, hidden deep within their wombs, buried inside of their hearts, lives a love greater than any human friendship; the friendship of God in the person of Jesus-physically within Mary and spiritually within Elizabeth.
We, too, have a share in this friendship, a deep and eternal bond with Jesus Christ. Our human friendships, lovely though they may be, are truly only temporary and one day with the passing from this life, those friendships will physically end. But, through Jesus, the holy unifier, we can carry our love for others into eternity. Each time we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we can take our friends both living and deceased to the altar with us through the love in our hearts, and because of our friendship with Jesus, we can be mystically united with all of our friends, whether or not they are physically present to us.
Just as the infant leapt within the swollen womb of Elizabeth at the greeting of Mary with the knowledge that she carried the Messiah and Savior of all within her very body, our souls too, leap with joy for the great love of our Blessed Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loves us beyond human friendship both now and for all eternity. How blessed we are to have a spiritual friendship with Jesus that becomes physical every time we attend Mass and receive His Body and Blood into our very flesh.