Saturday, 13 August 2011


GospelLuke 1:39-56 

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
  And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

The Path of Love is like a bridge of hair over a chasm of fire 
(Irina Tweedie)

In this country we have moved the Assumption to this Sunday. With very little  to say about an unknown and 'assumed' Assumption the Church uses the moments that the Gospel tells us what little there is about Mary's life. 

This is her witness to Elizabeth - a barren world is being brought to life by God's question  and a woman's answer. 
That the world is saved by a perfect 'yes'  is what Mary is about - but her own perfection must surely be in the humanity of who she is - of how she lived her life - how she taught her son to live his.

Accepting God into your life does not make for a path of certainty - as Mother Theresa once said - 'I know God trusts me but sometimes I wish he didn't trust me so much'.

I understand the theory about how a Palestinian peasant girl can proclaim such fierce poetry as the Magnificat. If the Holy Spirit is with you then surely you would speak with certainty and majesty. 

But, maybe, later that night:

My soul proclaims
its nearness to the Lord
delighted and fulfilled.

But my heart aches
broken by the accusation of my own people
shattered by stones of mistrust and judgment
No angel's promise of comfort - rather 
Life's pathway set out in shards of flint.

A flinty gaze fills my eyes
and they widen, seeking the future road
staring into dark shadows;
welcoming the desert heat
that burns away the tears of hesitation
before they fall - 

They fall, regardless

Each breath a tightening 
a measured in and out 
words said and unsaid
considered, found wanting

But not 'yes'
Never 'yes'.

My heart aches with Love.
With Love too much to be contained
yet unrecognised.

With Love that will lie in my arms
bloody and helpless
more than once.

With Love that will live within me 
and without me
for more than Abraham;



claire said...

Very beautiful, Word. Thank you.
Heartaches, indeed...

Jade said...

Mary has always been a big inspiration to me.

This is a very beautiful, powerful reflection. My favorite part was the poem at the end with its complexity-- pain and peace in one.

Word in the Hand said...

Thank you Claire and Jade - although this is a strange feast, the greatest influence that Mary has for me is her humanity - surely even her 'yes' - even though she meant it - had it's pain - a sword as it turned out.

blessings to you both m+x