Saturday, September 4, 2021

With Our Lady on Saturday


Once upon a time, there was a lovely, vibrant older woman named Julia who would often visit our monastery. She was a good friend of our monks. And one day I got to have a long chat with her. At one point in our conversation, she grew suddenly somber and began to tell me about her childhood. “We were so poor,” she said. “We really had nothing. It was the Depression. But we managed somehow. My mother was very resourceful.” Then this tiny, sacred tale emerged. “I had no toys of course, but each night when I was a little girl, I always had a doll to fall asleep with. It amazed me. My mother would tuck it into my folded arms, in the dim light, just as I was falling asleep, but somehow like magic it always disappeared by morning. I was mystified. Then one day when I was only about three, I was sitting on my mother’s lap leaning against her arm, and I smelled the doll; I mean I smelled her sweater. I recognized the touch and the feel and the smell. And I realized- the sweater was the doll. Each night my mother would knot and tie elastic bands around her old worn-out sweater, her only sweater, and make a doll, so I would have something to cuddle and fall asleep with. Then she would retrieve it just before I woke up so she could wear it again.”

A wonderful transformation accomplished by love in secret. A marvelous exchange as is the Incarnation - when our Creator became a creature himself. Imagine God’s longing to be hidden in our midst; God’s burning desire to be ordinary; imagine God’s heart ravished by the beauty of Mary’s nothingness. Think of God’s longing to know us from the inside out; God reaching out toward us, coming up with this way to touch and grow even closer to his own creatures. 

It is as if all through the ages God Most High was searching, searching over mountains, through valleys, searching. Finally in the fullness of time God, now on tiptoe, wary of frightening us, in quiet, in shadow, peeks over a wall and sees a very spacious garden. God has come upon the perfect place for encounter, a fragrant garden full of tender blossoms, there is dew and quiet. And the place is a person; the garden’s name is Mary. Imagine God’s joy at the discovery; for God’s relationship with Mary will allow God to be Himself completely.