Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mary's Faith

A woman in love, her heart so recently expanded by the love awakened within her by Joseph’s sweet tenderness, Mary falls easily into the arms of God, beguiled if you will, by the divine foolishness, choosing her of all people. She is charmed by his beauty, vulnerable to its mystery and power.  She lets the unknown envelop and become fruitful within her. “Let him have his way.”  It’s what we’re meant to do- notice God’s ways, put it all together, catch the meaning, and get a glimpse of transcendent beauty often hidden within the sometime absurdity of things. Though very often like Mary, we believe but we don’t really understand that always for God: mess is opportunity. God’s power is always, always made perfect through weakness.

Mary shows us how to trust in such a God, the Giver of only good gifts, who never deceives or abandons or demands. Isn’t that how we got here in the first place? Drawn and fascinated by the love he first offered, touching our hearts so deeply that we were willing to give everything else away. Only such a love is worth our lives; only such love and beauty could have charmed Mary’s heart or our own hearts. We monks have not come here to figure things out about God, but to love and more importantly let ourselves be loved by him and to experience his beauty.

Like Mary we have been grasped by the tender compassion of God, the God who is love. Love is never ugly, and God’s love is always creating beauty in place of irregularity and unevenness.[1] And so more and more we understand that brokenness, precariousness and vulnerability ultimately belong to the phenomenon of beauty, because through this fragmentation, the beautiful ultimately reveals the promise it contains.[2] In the end it is the crucified and risen Jesus who reveals that the beauty of God is hidden behind messiness and woundedness- the beauty of love seemingly concealed but really present.

Orazio Gentileschi, The Virgin with the Sleeping Christ Child. [1] Saint Augustine.. [2] Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord..