The story of the Visitation…we’re all familiar with it…I can picture Mary taking over the household chores, and Mary and Elizabeth praying together a lot…I can’t understand why Mary would leave before John was born…any ideas?
We have no idea how far along Elizabeth was. Mary stayed “about three months.” John was probably born before the end of her visit.
Ancient writers had a different sense of narrative than we do. Had I written the Gospel, I would have mentioned Mary again after the birth of John. But God didn’t choose me. Which is a good thing!
It doesn’t actually say that Mary left before he was born, it just says when she left before it says how John was born. If you look in Luke 1:26 it says the Annunciation happened “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Then it took her several days to make the journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judah, and then “she remained three months with her before returning home” – Luke 1:56. That gets us several days past the nine months of pregnancy, which indicates that Mary left right after the birth, even though it relates the birth after it says how long she stayed.
Luke says Mary visited Elizabeth in her sixth month and stayed with her for 3 months, but it does not say she left before John was born, Simply because the Bible does not mention her does not mean she wasn’t there. I can’t believe that Jesus did not appear to her on the day he was resurrected but the Bible says nothing of that. She was in all probability a major figure in the early Church but Acts mentions her only on the day of Pentacost. In other words, Scripture is silent in general when it comes to the Blessed Mother
I read someplace [maybe in Dorothy Sayers’ radio plays] that it would be inappropriate in that culture for a virgin to attend a child birth. I have no idea whether this was true, or just a part of the fiction.
Frank Sheed…in his book…To Know Christ Jesus. ( a superb book on the Life of Christ)…says that it is not clear whether or not Mary stayed until John’s birth…even though the birth is described after the verse that says Mary departed after three months .
(chronological order of the gospel events as written or sequenced in the bible, as a general rule,was not the authors primary intent)…and…Sheed says that because the visitation was not about the “meeting of two Mothers”…but about the meeting of the Forerunner of Christ…with The Christ…he personally doubts that Mary would have denied the birth of the Forerunner…with having the Presence of Christ.
Another book surmises the Elizabeth asked Mary if Joseph knew that she was “with child”…and Mary replied that she had not yet told Joseph…so Elizabeth encouraged her to get back to Nazareth as quick as possible.
My thought…6 months into pregnancy…and Mary stays 3 months…=…9 months…Mary was there when John was born. Also, if she stayed for three months…doesn’t make sense that she would leave just as John was near birth.
Tidbit: Sheed has a sharp intellect, a keen and precise eye for and knowledge of the scriptures…for example…Did Zachariah visibly see the angel Gabriel? yes…Luke’s account of their meeting is clear on this point. Now, What about Mary…did Mary visibly see Gabriel…Luke does not say so in his account of their meeting. Why? Zachariah needed to see an outward/visible sign of the Angel Gabriel’s spiritual splendor…but Mary did not need an outward visible sign of Gabriel’s spiritual splendor…because her splendor was greater than the Angel…and Gabriel knew that better than Mary…from all eternity. Interesting?..yes! Phenomenal?..incredible! I do love that Lady… Mary Most Holy, Mother of Our God and Our Savior…The Christ.