Thursday, September 8, 2016

On Her Birthday

Christ Jesus is moving near, longing to surround us. And as we celebrate Our Lady, we recall Jesus’ words to the woman at the well. “If only you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him instead and he would have given you living water.” If only we understood who it is who wants to make his home in our hearts as he did in Mary's womb, we would ask him over and over, and he would come to us in secret and fill us with himself.

And so the invitation is to be disarmed by God’s desire for us, “for he longs to be longed for, loves to be loved and desires to be desired.”* Our prayer affords us the extravagance of luxuriating in our helplessness and utter dependence on God, our confidence in a God who loves and loves. With Mary we encounter the almost absurd, baffling extravagance of God’s desire for us. He can’t help himself. God is helplessly in love. He has fallen in love with our flesh. Mary’s chosenness reveals in a particular way the reality of our chosenness. God wants each of us completely for himself. God in Christ desires to surrender himself to us. And it is the secret we were born for. Our unending work is to let ourselves be defenseless, utterly defenseless, like Mary, in the face of such self-offering; utterly nonresistant to God’s desire for us, for our body, our whole selves. And so we have to let ourselves be loved, not because we’re worthy, but because God wants it. Mary shows us how to give Jesus unrestricted access to our hearts. 

Drawing by Leonardo, 
*Maximus the Confessor.