Friday, January 2, 2015

A Heart For Everyone

"And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).

This is what the Gospel tells us about Mary's personal response to all the great events of these days. She reflected on the things (or pondered, as some translations have it, which evokes "weighing" these things, entering their depths). And she did so in her heart.

And "these things," of course were the mystery of what we are celebrating, the Nativity: the epiphany of God who was truly born from her womb, and the encounter of God, her son, with His people.

As soon as she had given birth to Him, they came. The first to come were the poor, those who counted for nothing in the world. They were shepherds, and they were weary and burdened. The young ones had no hopes for their lives beyond the flocks, and the old ones awaited the end of their days, grizzled, toothless, with gnarled faces and tired eyes that had watched more nights than they could remember.

But then messengers came forth from the Mystery (whose Name the shepherds dared not speak), the Mystery beyond the stars, and the messengers filled the sky with light and song and proclaimed that something new had begun in the world.

And so the shepherds came with joy and expectation to see the One who had been announced to them as their Savior, the One whose coming was meant to be "a great joy for all the people," the One who was the Glory of God and the bringer of peace.

And Mary showed them her child.

She was with them when they saw the Glory of the Lord, the Glory of the Mystery who creates and sustains all things, the Glory that is not like the ideas of power and domination that human beings seek to grasp and possess. They saw the Glory of the Lord as an infant, born an outcast (from a town that had no room to take Him in), wrapped in cloth bands and lying in a feeding trough.

The Infinite Mystery, so Great beyond all greatness that His glory shines through the "smallness" of taking flesh under the heart of Mary. His glory shines through His coming into the world as the son of an insignificant mother who takes refuge in a shelter among the poorest of the poor.

His glory was in sharing the night of the shepherds, because He wanted to bring joy and peace to the grizzled, toothless, wrinkled, tired old men.

They had hearts, and they had hope. He would not leave them disappointed....

His glory was, and is, the revelation of His love, the revelation that He is Love.

And Mary kept these things and pondered them. She pondered the humility of the One who had placed Himself in her hands so that she could give Him to everyone. She pondered her mysterious motherhood of the God who had become her child, and who wanted to be the brother of every person, first of all of those who were the least, the poorest, the most forgotten.

She kept these things in her heart. She said "yes" to all the multitude whose lives her son had come to embrace. She said "yes" to being mother to the shepherds' joy, and she kept saying "yes" -- to His disciples, to the crowds who would follow Him, to those He forgave on the cross, to those who waited in the upper room for the Spirit to come, to Israel and the Gentiles, to every human being, to you, to me.

Mary kept and pondered in her heart. That means she loved.

This love was and is for everyone. Mary is our Mother.

At the center of it all -- of all our searching and finding and fulfilling of our destiny -- there is the heart of a woman who loves, a mother....

Of course. How could this not be true?