May 31 holds special significance for me. On May 31, 2003, I was ordained a permanent deacon by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The day also is significant for me, because on May 31 the church commemorates the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The feast recalls the visit of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation. Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Mary as "blessed among women."
In Luke’s Gospel account of the Visitation, Mary sings her prophetic hymn, the Magnificat, which is prayed daily around the world at evening prayer by women and men religious, priests, deacons and many of the faithful:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
Mary lived an ordinary life filled with love, and she modeled for us how to cooperate with God’s grace in an extraordinary way. She inspires me to live my life as a good and faithful husband, father and deacon, by teaching me the joy of serving the church with faith-filled love.