"Thy Blood, the price of our redemption, O Lord Jesus, is indeed most precious and deserving of our special veneration because of its immaculate origin in Mary, thy spotless Mother, on account of its surpassing innocence and its union with Thy divinity."
---From a prayer to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady, in which the Church remembers the Virgin's unsurpassed charity and humility as she made haste to visit her older and expectant cousin, Elizabeth. Hidden behind this mystery of the Virgin's visit to St. Elizabeth are many rich teachings and examples. One such mystery is the sanctification of St. John Baptist in the womb at the very moment the Virgin Mary spoke to his mother.
Let's see what the Gospel of Luke (Ch. 1: 26-57) records of these wondrous events, beginning with the Incarnation of Christ, which the Church celebrates on March 25, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin:
 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary.  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.  And of his kingdom there shall be no end.  And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?  And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:  Because no word shall be impossible with God.  And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.  And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.  And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:  And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
 He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:  As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
 And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.  Now Elizabeth' s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son.
First, the Annunciation, when Jesus incarnated in the womb of the Virgin, is the greatest mystery of the universe. There is much that could be said of this portion of St. Luke's Gospel, but let it suffice for now to say that the Virgin was greeted by the angel (sent by God) with the name by which God Himself considers her: "Hail, full of grace." This Virgin was the one chosen by God to be the Mother of God, the Word, and hence, she is the grace-filled Mother of God.
Second, St. Ambrose remarks that when Our Lady visited Elizabeth, it was she who first greeted her older cousin. There is no snobbery on the chosen Virgin's part, even though she knows that she is the chosen Mother of the Messiah. It is she who hastens to visit her older cousin who is six months with child; it is the Virgin who enters the house and immediately offers the first sincere "hello." It could have gone quite differently; she could have gone to help her cousin but upon the way, reflecting upon her own prerogatives, pride might have slipped in. She could have treated Elizabeth in a manner that made clear what a great favor she was bestowing on her older cousin simply by visiting her. But that is not what happened.
God had prepared Mary to become the Mother of the Son. She was conceived without sin so that Christ could assume from her His human nature - Body and Blood. Her soul had to be immaculate, because God is holy. Like Her Son, she never committed any sin but grew in wisdom and grace. She was the first Tabernacle of Jesus Christ.
And so Mary's visit to Elizabeth "brought with it an accumulation of graces," as writes St. Alphonsus de Liguori. "The moment she entered that dwelling, on her first salutation, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; and St. John was cleansed from Original Sin, and sanctified; and therefore gave this mark of joy by leaping in his mother's womb, wishing thereby to manifest the grace that he had received by the means of the Blessed Virgin, as St. Elizabeth herself declared: As soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy."
Third, while there are many more doctrinal depths to these passages of St. Luke's, may it suffice to say that there are many reasons why we call the Blessed Virgin Mary by the title of "Our" Lady, for the one hailed by an angel as "full of grace" is truly a "channel of grace" to lead others to her Divine Son.
Last but not least, since this is the month of July, the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus, which he assumed from His Virgin Mother, it would not be remiss, when contemplating the mystery of the Visitation, to also consider the following prayers:
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! O Jesus! O Mary! All ye blessed angels of God and saints of Paradise, obtain for me these graces which I ask through the Most Precious Blood of Jesus:
1. Ever to do the holy will of God.
2. Ever to live in union with God.
3. Not to think of anything but God.
4. To love God alone.
5. To do all for God.
6. To seek only the glory of God
7. To sanctify myself solely for God.
8. To know well my own utter nothingness.
9. Ever to know more and more the will of my God.
10. (Here ask for any special grace)
O Mary most holy, offer to the Eternal Father the Most Precious Blood of Jesus for my soul, for the poor souls in Purgatory, for the needs of the Holy Church, for the conversion of sinners, and for the entire world. Amen.