Monday, 2 March 2009

Mary's Journey

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Luke 2:34
‘The pain of a sword-thrust through you.’


I know the image you have of me; young and beautiful, the contentment of motherhood showing on my face. My arms held wide in the openhearted gesture of a mother to all those who have been given to me.

In the beginning, only he was given to me; he was the ‘Yes’ of my life, my heart and my soul. The ethereal otherness of him was wrapped in prophecy, his baby eyes were wide with the guileless love that my gaze returned. Our future lives were given into God’s care, to His Will.

At the Temple I wore the simple veil of a proud, young mother, knowing that, despite the gossips, my child had every right to this moment, this presentation into his Father’s hands; confident that he would receive His blessing as I had been blessed. That Love was ours.

Then Simeon’s words; the veil lifted to reveal an unwelcome truth –
A reminder that love is not a thing to be taken lightly; it isn’t always lovely, not always bright, not always easy. Often, love’s task is to support us in dark days, through hard times, through the worst of times without release or explanation. Love does not replace suffering; there are times when love and suffering become part of the same experience - like the thorns on a rose.

It is a truth that the Path of Light can feel like walking on shards of glass: and sometimes we have to decide whether the Light is worth the sacrifice; if the sword thrust means defeat or acceptance.

I was young and beautiful when I began this journey; but it is neither my youth nor my beauty that has sustained me; it is Love, his and mine. Because he was always my child, do not take that away from me. As he grew, so did I; as he lived, so did I, as he suffered so did I.

And though he has become so much more than I could ever be, he still knows me as his mother, knows he can call on me to guide others to him because my ‘Yes’ has survived the sword and my eyes are set on the Path of Light, of Life, of Love. The outstretched arms do not always promise comfort but invitation - will you make the journey?

ContemplationCarrying the sword
The role of Mary in Jesus’ life seemed to be pushed aside when he asked ‘who is my mother?’ and we interpreted this, as we were meant to do, as part of our understanding of ‘who is my neighbour?’

Nevertheless, it is almost beyond belief that, after that statement intended to challenge and cause controversy, that Jesus did not find Mary and spend time with her reassuring her of his love, explaining his mission as he did with the rest of the Apostles.

It may have took Mary time to bring together all of her ponderings to the awareness of what was to come, of where the journey was heading, but she did. For Mary, Lent lasted a lot longer than 40 days; she had given up a normal life as a woman, as a wife, as a mother; she had given up her place in society, her security within the community; she had given up her role as a mother who comforts and protects her child to follow him on a road strewn with shards of glass.

At this time of year the focus is on Jesus, of course it is, but he has gone on ahead and we are all followers on the road. It is good to know that there are friends on the road, those who have walked it before, who are waiting to walk beside us, to show us the way.

In quiet contemplation consider what you are bringing to Jesus this Lent, and share it with his mother asking for her help and guidance to make the journey in faith and love as she did.
Closing PrayerMay the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.


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