Meditating with Mary Pt. 2

The Nativity

“All of Bethlehem was dark and quiet when the Savior made his entrance into the world, and his first home was in the protective circle of Mary’s arms. Imagine how Mary’s heart shone with a love spanning the tender, protective love of a mother holding her baby in her argms and the profound adoration of a soul adoring her Creator and Lord in the flesh. This was a day of fulfillment and joy—one of many along a path also rich in crosses. Nine months ago, she had given that first “yes” in the garden. Now it had become a life, a beautiful baby. It was so clear now that everything—even the future crosses that would be her “birth pains”—were worth it. In our lives too, there are times when God asks us to make a choice that we do not fully understand, and the blessing reveals itself only later in time. Once the blessing comes, we understand that the only way to understand God’s plan was to live it. In this mystery, ask Mary for the grace to believe in the blessings that were promised in your own life, even if they seem slow in coming. The most exquisite flowers sometimes take the longest to develop.” - Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries

Mary inspires me to grow in courage. What is courage? Courage is the eagerness to live and readiness to die. Strive to be a woman of value - give more to life than take from it. Bearing pain with fortitude and resilience is deeply inspiring but easier said than done. What are the “birth pains” we are enduring? Is it a loss or a job or moving to a new city or a break up?

How can we turn the pain into new life? What lessons can we learn from our poverty so it may turn into riches? The lesson will reveal itself. The blessing will come with time. Be patient. “Wait for the Lord – His day is near. Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart” – Ps 27:14.

The Presentation

 “Mary and Joseph were presenting the Only Begotten Son to the Eternal Father, in a temple that was merely the shadow and copy of the real temple in heaven. They were also acknowledging that this child was not their own, and that his first bond of kinship was to his Heavenly Father. Mary was not one to cling to her child with overprotective love, as some mothers do. Yet even she, the selfless and obedient one, was promised that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart on the day of separation. Why does God give us such beautiful gifts and then ask us to give them up?  Why does he allow a loving heart to be pierced with loss?  These questions must be brought to Mary, who suffered this sword in a terrible way, more than any mother, any father. Through this mystery, she can help your heart accept what your mind cannot understand.” - Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries

We all have specific spiritual DNA and experiences. We are made up of a very unique set of memories, moments and intricacies. We deal with loss and love very uniquely. We may be resilient or may be very grieved but the key is this - always express truth with love and don’t judge another for how they are coping because we also have our own flaws and failings.

Love and sorrow must coincide. They must get into each other’s mess and become united. When you embrace your cross, you find you’re not carrying it but its carrying you. Fulton Sheen also echoes this sentiment: “At the end of the story of love and sorrow, we see that love needs a constant purification, and this happens only through sorrow. Love that is not nourished on sacrifice becomes trite, banal, and commonplace. It takes the other for granted, makes no more professions of love because it has sounded no new depths.”

Mary is the perfect example of enduring love and sacrifice for Jesus as she experienced both loss and love at the same time. “He begins detaching Himself from His Mother, seemingly alienating His affections with growing unconcern --- only to reveal at the very end that what He was doing was introducing her through sorrow to a new and deeper dimension of love.” Love does not dominate. It liberates. So be free. Have an undivided heart and work towards patience. “[Unspoken love] doesn't mean that it is felt less deeply or that separation leaves a cleaner wound. Its beauty and its pain are in its silence. Love cannot be spoken, only shown and everything that makes the heart beat must be hushed” – Call the Midwife. Beauty, like love, reveals itself progressively and the richness is unveiled as we take the time to pursue and discover but it will take time.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Even Christ began in the humble position of one who listens and asks questions. “He also began in the humility of a boy who obeys his parents. Why does Jesus listen and ask questions when he already knows all of the answers with perfect certainty? And why did he obey his mother and father when he himself had called them into existence?  Perhaps Mary also reflected on these questions, wondering at the sweetness and respect with which God introduces himself into our lives, as a fellow pilgrim who lives our lives with us, whose questions make us reflect and grow, who listens to us with kindness and interest, and who perhaps has obeyed us—answering our prayers, forgiving our sins in confession, coming into our hearts in holy Communion— far more than we have obeyed him.” – Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries

Continue to explore. There is a universe within you – waiting to be discovered and revealed. Be patient with yourself. Take the time to listen and reflect.  Like Mary, ponder things in your heart.  St. Francis says: “go and preach, if necessary use words.” Practice love in silence and be eager to listen than to respond. A wise priest once said: “Joy is peace dancing. Peace is joy resting.” Listening helps us to grow in peace and joy. Happiness happens to you. It can be stolen. Joy cannot be stolen. Joy is the hallmark of evangelization so seek joy and strive to embody it. You might be surprised by all the things you learn about yourself – the good, the bad and the ugly. You are what you remember and all that you are is a thing of beauty. Be joyful because God could not imagine a world without you – you have a radical, unrepeatable purpose.

 All of the joyful mysteries are somehow tinged with sorrow, but they are also touched with light and glory. The comfort of Christmas relays Jesus’ birth and allows His story to be mingled with the mess and dysfunction of our lives. Jesus is aware of the depth of the mess but still He persists. He continues to be with us – “flawed, compromised, half-finished.” But he becomes part of the family. He chooses to dine with us, feast with us, and abide with us.  God wants to journey with us and wake us up from our despair and bring joy to our lives.

 "AwakeO sleeperrise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." – Ephesians 5:14