Friday, January 01, 2010

A Letter to Mary

Today is not only the beginning of the New Year, a new decade even, but also the feast day of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus. Mary has been with me more than ever through this holiday season and several times I have attempted to write a post in her honor – really in honor of all mothers. So, it only seems fitting that today before I step fully into 2010, announce my word for the year, or recap 2009, Mary deserves her day.

How fitting that a mother would have to share her feast day with one of the most unavoidable holidays of the year. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we have entered a new year and it affects us all in one way or another. So by sharing this day, Mary has most often gone unnoticed, as mothers are prone to do.

“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Mary was a ponderer. (I love that!) She bore the Son. She bore God. She bore MUCH! How much must I as a mother be called to bear? My own mother used to say, “There is nothing that can compare with the love a mother has for her child.” The range of emotions is huge and even if we aren’t mothers, we all had one! And, so I write to this ancient mother for my own peace of mind.

Dear Mary -

What was it like to be the mother of a perfect child? Were you without worry? I think not. Both you and he were human, after all. How did you hold up, Mary? How did you bear all that God gave you? Your “yes” was only the beginning. Your years had to be excruciating. Consider the weirdness following his birth – all those strangers showing up with extravagant gifts while you hung out in a dirty stable. The flight to Egypt as Herod threatened to kill your only son.


And those middle years – what happened then? Was Jesus ever rowdy as a boy? Was he arrogant as a teenager? Your mother’s worry had to be huge. Did you hover and overfeed him? Did you try to encourage him to eat his vegetables and study his Hebrew? Did you tell him to be careful when he went out at night?
Even your mother’s love was not enough to save his life. You had to stand by and watch him be crucified to death. How did you handle that? How helpless you must have felt!

Mary, you have been with me this season. I am grateful for your presence. You offer me hope and I will carry you with me into this New Year.



Today’s Advent reading ends with … “this was the Mary whose soul was pierced by a sword.”

No matter who your kid is, being a mother is a really tough job – one that pierces in more ways anyone can imagine. Today I honor Mary and all the mothers of the world – Saints or not ☺. Won't you join me?

For another wonderful view of Mary, pop on over to the Mind Sieve.

photo © lucy - paris, 2008

12 comments:

claire bangasser said...

Thank you, Lucy. This is a lovely letter to Mary. I'm sure she will respond in her own way.
Today, and oftentimes when I think of Mary, I had a question for her: How do you feel when you see the 'reality' that centuries have made of you?
But, like you, I am grateful for her presence in my life.
Thanks again.

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Mary is with me a lot, too. I often ponder the pain of knowing ... what she knew ~ giving birth to a child who was destined to die so painfully and violently.

Christine Claire Reed said...

But he wasn't perfect. He was just as human as he was divine; he was tempted even as an adult. You know all that...

:)

Have you read the Anne Rice books? They are pretty darn amazing, actually, and she did a CRAP load of research. Really. They make you ponder a LOT.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Abbey of the Arts said...

Happy New Year dear friend! Lovely and tender letter, calling on the feminine feels like a beautiful way to begin the year.

I am giving away one of your lovely journals at the Abbey. Can't wait to hear what your word for the year is. :-) xoxoxo

SUNRISE SISTER said...

A beautiful tribute to Mary. What heartache and joy our sons bring to us. They are not perfect; we've always known that but wow, did we ever begin to realize how much love they would produce in our lives?

xoxoxo

Maureen said...

Lovely post.

A while back (Oct. 4) I wrote a poem that I posted on my blog. It's called "The Etymology of Mary". You might like it.

May the New Year bring joy, success, a peaceful heart.

lucy said...

claire - i love your question to mary! thanks so much for stopping by. happy new year!!

tinkerbell - i had never considered her "knowing what she knew" in that context. we often wish we could see the journey for our children, but it seems like that might make the pain even more excruciating... and would it change anything?

CCR - it's funny how loaded the word "perfect" is, huh? my thought was that we are ALL perfect in our own way (with some divinity thrown in too :-)

i haven't read Anne Rice since she stopped writing the vampire books. are they worth a read?

lucy said...

christine - happy new year to you, too. thank you for the gracious "billing" over at your place. my new post is up and "the word" has been revealed. yikes!

SS - oh those boys are special ones, aren't they? xoxoxo

thank you, maureen. i'll pop on over to check out the etymology. i appreciate the heads up!

warm blessings to each of you!!!

Gabrielle said...

I can't help but think that Mary would be a perfect guide as you explore the many facets of "water" in 2010, Lucy, and maybe that was why you were feeling her presence so palpably during Advent and the Christmas season, drawing you closer. In obedience Mary went for the ritual purification by water after Jesus' birth, though in reality there was no need for her to do so; she gently led Jesus into His first public miracle where He turned water into wine; she is associated with healing waters as at Lourdes; she is Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, her personality and character being gentle yet so strong, her contemplative life of prayer in the stream of the Living Waters...well you can tell I could go on and on... but Happy New Year, and thank you for posting your beautiful reflection on Mary!

Tess said...

When you talk of the perfect child, I'm reminded very strongly of the story in Luke when Jesus was twelve and stayed behind in Jerusalem after the Passover feast. His parents thought he was somewhere else in their travelling party and after an entire day they realised he was not, started looking for him and eventually returned to Jerusalem, where after three days they found him in the temple.

How his mother's heart must have lurched when she realised he wasn't with them. Their feelings during that desperate journey back to Jerusalem and the ensuing three day search, becoming more and more frantic.

And then they find him and she shares her anxiety. He says "Why did you search for me...did you not know I was bound to be in my father's house?". Well any mother would be torn between hugging, shaking and slapping such a son, wouldn't they? The humanity of that moment always stays with me.

lucy said...

oh gabrielle - thank you SO much for those wonderful connections made between mary and water. i'm not sure i would have gotten there on my own. that's what i love about blogging - helping each other see things in new and different ways. blessings to you in this new year!!

tess - that scene is a strong one for me too of both mary and jesus. it was actually in my original post, but it got a little too long for me. yep, i have no doubt that jesus gave mary many opportunities for anxiety!!! in this reading i almost heard jesus say "duh, mom" and roll this eyes!

Christine Claire Reed said...

Ha! The word perfect IS loaded! I would NEVER have thought of that word they way you intended it. Wow.

Yep. I would say the Anne Rice books give me food for thoughts, so they are worth it. And again, the RESEARCH she did was astounding.