The Visitation Journey
The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.
Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.
“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.
Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: Tyndale Seminary New Testament associate professor Dr. Ian Scott shares this image of the Judean wilderness in his Flickr photo album Israel Tour 2011. He shares the following details about the image:
This photo looks north and east along a deep valley in the Judean wilderness (midbar or “desert”), standing just east of Jerusalem. The ridge at right provided the path for the “red ascent” (Ma’ale Adummim), the main road from the Jordan valley (near Jericho) up to Jerusalem in the central hill country. This road was notorious in antiquity for banditry and it is this route that forms the setting for Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.
We don’t know the route that the Virgin took from Nazareth to visit her kinswoman, Elizabeth, but some scholars indicate that it’s likely that Mary traveled along the more level route that passes through the Jordan river valley from Beth-shean to Jericho. From Jericho she, too, might have followed that path for the “red ascent” up to Jerusalem and Ein Kerem, where we believe Saint Elizabeth was staying.
Photo credit: Dr. Ian Scott (Some rights reserved)