Mary on Monday: The Kickoff

It is, suddenly, warm around here.  Yesterday Scott took the patio furniture out from under its winter wraps, and I planted my first bed of flowers.  I cannot tell you how good it felt to work that bag full of garden soil into the ground.  It smells intoxicating, that rich dark soil: like chocolate, or very good coffee.  I planted a whole host of little multicolored impatiens, and now have to wait impatiently (sorry; can’t resist a pun) for them to bloom.

I love that the warmth and the spring-y feelings came in tandem with the first day of May.  This is Mary’s month, and it is wonderfully appropriate to usher it in with sunshine and flowers.

And for this month’s Monday Meditations, I’m going to concentrate on Mary.   For the five Mondays of May, I’m going to share some little insight about her that has proven meaningful to me — some aspect of her life of experience that resonates with me, a writer and teacher and mother and seeker of truth.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Mary, in the past ten or so years of actively thinking about her and reading about her and writing about her and praying to her and getting to know her, it’s that she is deeply, utterly, profoundly relevant.  You don’t have to be a mom, or a Catholic, or even a Christian.   You just have to be someone who is open to the ways in which this woman’s story illuminates our own.

And maybe the first step of that process is simply to register the presence and love of Mary.  Catholics believe that she is the spiritual mother of us all; and, like a good mom, she knows what her kids need at any given time.  Maybe it’s her encouragement, or inspiration. Maybe it’s her prayers for something that is on our minds.  Or maybe it’s just a her quiet constant presence, the kind that the French writer Paul Claudel writes about in this simple and beautiful poem.

Midday.  I see the open church.
It draws me within.
I did not come, Mother of Jesus Christ,
to pray.
I have nothing to offer you.
Not to ask of you.
I only come, O my Mother,
To gaze at you,
To see you, to cry simply out of joy.
Because I know that I am your child,
And that you are there.

She is there, for all of us.  We just have to be willing to see her.

Poem from  Spiritual Writings of Mary, edited by Mary Ford-Grabowsky

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