Hope, Part 2: Eternal Perspective

Continued from Hope, Part 1: The Four-Letter Word

I have never wanted to fall for wishful thinking – I have only ever wanted the truth. Before I became a true-believing Christian, as a preteen, teenager, and young adult, I viewed Heaven as a comforting fairytale and a false hope. Coming to know the real Christ, however, and growing in relationship with him, my understanding of Heaven was inevitably going to change.

I am still growing in my understanding….

I love life here and now and I love God, here and now. There is still a small part of me that is fighting against the thought of Heaven, not wanting to be patronized like a child told to hope.

However… I’m beginning to understand that I am behaving like a child by fighting the reality of Heaven….

Hope Is a Virtue

As a believing Christian and committed practitioner of the Catholic Faith, I know that I must take seriously the theological definition of hope:

“a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God’s help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it.”[1]

“Eternal felicity”….

“Confidently expect”…

Hope As Part of the Big Three

The theological virtue of hope presupposes belief in the existence of eternal life and, specifically, in the existence of “eternal felicity”, or, namely, Heaven. Hope, then, is a firm faith, or kind of knowledge, that one can, through Christ, enter into this eternal life, because the way through which to enter it is given to us by God in Christ Jesus.

I had been thinking that it shouldn’t be hope that helps Christians through rough trials and tribulations. I had been thinking that faith is what does that – the assent, the trust in, and the commitment to God and to what God has revealed. But, if it is not to be mere wishful thinking, then hope, which is that “confident expectation” of “eternal felicity”, is a result of faith. It’s the natural living out of faith.

And that faithful, “confident expectation” that is hope can only exist and be realized through love.

The Reality of God’s Love

Although I am naturally an optimistic and content person, there are, of course, many times when I have been laid low by my disease and disability. In these times, I have been sustained and carried by love… By my love for life and for my family – and by my family’s love for me. Now that I have given myself in faith to the reality of God, I know that this sustaining love comes from God’s love. And believing Christians experience spiritual aid and comfort, not only from human love, but also (and more deeply and profoundly because it is the source of human love) from God’s love and the willingness and eagerness to love God in return.

Christianity is not all about rewards after death – it is fundamentally about the giving and receiving of divine love from pure and generous hearts. I understand, now, that “eternal felicity”, that Heaven, is the reality of God and God’s love for me. And so, too, is the divine disposal of “the means of securing it”. We can never earn Heaven or wishfully think our way into it – it is purely God’s gift, freely and graciously given to all who are willing to receive it.

As a committed lover of God, I am willing to receive all that God wills to give to me.

And, so, yes – Heaven is real, and hope is good.

Living Hope Every Day – Eternal Perspective

One way that I think that we can describe the practice and the effect of the theological virtue of hope in our lives is as eternal perspective. One can say that one believes in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come. But, does that belief influence and effect one’s daily life? To live in hope is to have an eternal perspective in the mundane living of every day. For, surely, if one is confidently expectant of something, then one lives in preparation and readiness of its coming.

Real life example: let’s say you’re arguing with someone whom you truly love. The argument won’t last forever and the two of you may even forget the very thing over which you were fighting. Because you truly love each other, you will forgive each other and continue to live your relationship rooted in that love. The argument is finite. But the love experienced, expressed, and manifested through your relationship is infinite, it belongs to eternity – because it is the experience, expression, and manifestation of God’s eternal love, which is the Source and Sustainer of all love. And, so, even in the midst of the argument, you can step back for a moment and regain this eternal perspective. Having this eternal perspective fosters the true forgiveness, healing, and continuation of your relationship’s joyful love, which is carried into eternity itself.

Eternal felicity.

My Hope

So, I don’t do this-or-that hoping, like some kind of wishful, fingers-crossed-wanting, that it will turn out fabulous in the end. I live with confidence. I trust in God’s Word and, so, have faith that eternity is real. The things of God last forever and other things don’t. This knowledge, this “confident expectation”, our Christian hope, is the fruit of our Christian faith, brought into true being and sustained through Christian love.

Thankfully, God is merciful… If my human weakness cannot yet handle the word, then I do not need to think of this thing called “hope”. I need only to live it.

unpublished work © 2015 Christina Chase


[1] http://newadvent.org/cathen/07465b.htm

The First Psalm and – Say What?

They say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. So true.

What to do with those spare minutes between the time when I’m finished my work on my computer and the time that I need to lie down and rest? In the past, this interval is when I would be tempted to play minesweeper or some other game. Later, I decided not to give into those (rather addictive) temptations. Instead, I used to maybe click on Facebook and scan down my home feed – usually not finding anything meaningful or even memorable. Or, maybe I would go over to ancestry.com and see if there was anything quick that I could explore – but there’s never anything quick, so I usually wouldn’t do anything. And, so, I have decided, rather spontaneously, to now take that brief, leisure time to read one Psalm from an online Bible.

Reading the Bible, ah, yes, something that I know that I should do as a believing Christian and something that I actually do want to do as a lover of Christ – but, it’s just so hard! Does that sound like I’m whining? Well, I guess I am a little bit. But, I’m not complaining, because I believe that the Bible shouldn’t be an easy, breezy read – life as a human isn’t easy, breezy, so why should a book written about us be so? I have been given much insight and understanding and even encouragement and love from reading short passages of Scripture. But, to read all of Scripture, every book in entirety? It overwhelms me. I’ve made many different resolutions to read the Bible, taking many different forms, like chronologically, or skipping around from book to book. But, I think that this new idea, reading one Psalm in free minutes – just one – might actually become reality. (Although I’ve only done it once since I made the decision almost a week ago, so… we’ll see….)

I began my new quest on Good Friday. I had just finished praying while watching The Stations of the Cross through my diocesan channel on YouTube and had some time remaining before I needed to get my poor body out of the wheelchair. I began with Psalm 1 – where else? And what did I read as a complete sentence with my eyes?………

“Blessed is the man who does not walk”

– and an instant reaction of a big smile spread across my face. A little perplexed for a fraction of a nano second – blessed is the man who does not walk?? – and then I saw my error and the great humor of it all at once. There was joy in it. For this didn’t come to me as a simple mistake made by my limited little brain, but, rather, as a kind of direct and personal message sent to me by the Holy Spirit through the words of Sacred Scripture.

Jews and Christians, who lovingly hold the Psalms in common, believe that the power of God inspired the writers of the Bible so that they would write what God intended. And since, for God, there are no minutes, or years, or decades, or millennia, or eons, but, rather, everything and everyone is immediately present to God, those writers did not just write those words for themselves or their own people in their own time – but, rather, for everyone, everywhere, for all time… for me, here and now. This is what God intends. God shall speak and we shall listen. We shall seek and we shall find that God provides… endlessly.

And so, God provided for me, in the digitized pages of the Bible, a little twist of divine wisdom to wind itself through my brain and into my mind and heart. With a simple line break, God provided joy and funniness – that sacred kind of funniness that is like irony, or somersaults, or jujitsu, or topsy-turvism. Perhaps, this was a divine message to me that I am blessed as I am, that there is actually special blessedness in disease and disability. Or, perhaps the divine intent was for me to make the mistake in reading so that I may be reminded that not everything is as it seems.

Or maybe it’s both.

It could be like God saying to me, “Do you think you know how everything works, Christina? Do you think that you have figured out the secret path of life and the way of the universe? Do you think that you are balanced and well-informed, knowledgeable and doing well? Well, flip this. Let’s shake things up, turn things upside down, and then see how well you do. I have told you and shown you many things… but there is so much more of which you are incapable of seeing and knowing while you are still right side up.”

“Blessed is the man who does not walk

… who does not stand

… who does not sit”

… and who does not lie.

© 2015 Christina Chase

Is Faith Necessary?

As an atheist, I came to know the existence of God – not through something that somebody told me or something that I read – but through silence. In silent contemplation of the natural world, I became aware of infinite presence. Intellectually, I reasoned this to be the Uncreated Creator, the Uncaused Cause, the Infinite/Eternal Source – that which everyone calls God.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

“The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls ‘God.’”  [Para 34]

Knowledge of God’s existence can be self-evident and it also can be reached through reason. We could say, then, that faith is not necessary for this kind of knowing God. But… is this truly knowing God? No. It is merely knowing that that which we call God exists. This is important, undoubtedly, but it is not nearly enough. If we are to be truly and fully human, then we must come to knowledge of God through personal relationship and intimate interaction with Him. And that is why God chooses to reveal Himself to us – this is the foundational belief of the three great religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Through the prophets and His Word as written in the Hebrew Testament, (or, as Muslims believe, through Mohammed and the Qu’ran) God gives something of Godself to us, revealing to us what God wants us to know. As a Christian, I believe that God reveals Godself finally and most fully, through the Incarnation of God’s Word, who is Jesus Christ.

– This post is not to argue who has God’s true Revelation and who does not. This post is to underscore the fact that, if God does not reveal Godself to us, then we cannot come into intimate and personal relationship with Him. We can say that we believe in the existence of God – but we cannot say that God is loving or that God is merciful without God’s pure gift of Revelation and its counterpart gift of faith. It is not certainty that is required for our union with God – it is faith. To take a leap of faith is something purely beautiful and exquisitely profound – so much so that God veils Godself in the deepest Mystery in order to elicit this response from us, giving just enough of Himself through Divine Revelation so that we, in wanting more, may fly….

Without Revelation and our response to it, which is faith, conclusions could be drawn that the Creator is an impersonal “God” and we would be merely deists. Or, left to our own imagination, we could worship creation instead of the Creator and continually invent a plethora of gods and religions. (After becoming aware of the existence of God, I, myself, tried to invent my own religion.) But, God does not want this for us. God made us for Godself and seeks union with us, knowing that our hearts are restless until they rest in God[1]. Therefore, we are not left with reason alone. Through Divine Revelation, God speaks to us. And, through faith, we listen.

© 2015 Christina Chase

[1] St. Augustine, Confessions – “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

Job’s Christmas

“And you beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,

who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow…”

There is so much suffering in the world. War, disease, starvation, abuse, murder… the heartache of billions of human beings. And we naturally question life, the universe, the powers that be, wondering why – why?????

I sit in the dark turmoil of my own brokenness and limitations with Job. Job, who not only lost his wealth, security, health and strength, but also his family – all of his loved ones dead. And, after all of that, he was supposed to still love God. But, how??? If this is what can happen to a good person who is loved by God, then what good is that supposed love?

Job questioned, too. His questions, in the divine light, were “words without knowledge”, merely obfuscating divine reason. The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom, and, so, the answer for Job’s WHY began like this:

lightning

God thunders forth marvels with his voice;

he does great things beyond our knowing.

He says to the snow, “Fall to the earth”;

likewise to his heavy, drenching rain…

Out of its chamber the tempest comes forth;

from the north winds, the cold.

With his breath God brings the frost,

and the broad waters congeal.

The clouds too are laden with moisture,

the storm-cloud scatters its light.

He it is who changes their rounds, according to his plans,

to do all that he commands them

across the inhabited world.[1]

Across the inhabited world, the Unmoved Mover has unquestionable power, unlimited might. We are but creatures, who, like the grass, may fall dead with the first breath of winter. Who are we to question God? As intelligent and imaginative as we are, human beings are dependent upon Creation and the Creator behind it all. Helplessly and hopelessly limited are we, at the mercy of the Almighty One, who makes and rules the universe and beyond.

It is only reasonable that we suffer Continue reading

God for Us (Reason and Faith)

We are but dust in the vast cosmos…

I ask in advance if any of this post is bizarre or unsettling to anyy of my fellow devout Christians. Please remember that I was once an atheist (not the angry, zealous kind) and that I am still often haunted by the ghosts of my past denial. Having always marveled at the wonders of nature, I’m drawn toward cosmology and all scientific inquiry into life and matter, enjoying television programs like Nova and Cosmos. But… I don’t always enjoy them. Sometimes, listening to a scientific reduction of the facts of life, my doubting ghosts waft over me again and they, like the wraiths in Harry Potter, try to suck my soul, my faith, right out of me. Ever grateful am I that God’s grace has allowed my light of faith to grow more strongly over the years so that I may send these ghosts, these wraiths, howling away to the dark ignorance from whence they came. What follows was born from one of these moments …

When contemplating the vast stretches of the universe, it is clear that we are a speck of dust in the cosmos. Who knows how many universes existed before ours and how many will be after – or how many universes exist right now? And yet, we open our paper Bibles and read that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”[i] and that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”[ii] Do we really think that we are so special to the Uncreated Creator of all things visible and invisible? It stands to reason that if, as we believe, the Eternal Source is personal, then God cares and will care about all universes and worlds created and the lives of other lifeforms there. There may be other intelligent beings in unimaginable forms somewhere beyond the knowable universe to whom God sends divine mission with divine purpose. I don’t know. Do you?

What I do know, by the light of faith, is that Jesus the Christ is and always will be God for us. I don’t mean “for us” in any kind of a relativistic way, like that’s who we take him to be, because what’s God for us may not be God for you. No. I mean that, in Jesus, God gave Himself completely to us, for our sakes. For us, for our ultimate fulfillment and joy, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word of God may salvifically take on some other kind of form in some other universe of unfathomable structure – I don’t know, do you? But, Jesus is ours.

To be a true believer in God, we do not need to believe that we are the only creatures ever made, or who will ever be made, in the divine image and likeness. To be good Christians, we do not need to believe that God’s plan of salvation for these other beloved creatures would have to include a mission from Jesus. There is and always will be only one Christ Jesus – for he is both fully divine and fully human. It is with this divinely revealed truth of Jesus of Nazareth’s identity that, through the light of faith, we can make the reasonable conclusion that Jesus won’t be saving anyone else in any other universe. No hard-core scientist would believe that intelligent lifeforms elsewhere in existence would be human (I’m excluding theories of parallel universes here, because I think that they’re just clever nonsense). Human beings, Science-Only scientists understand, are products of this particular planet that we know as earth. Believers, too, understand that God created humans from the earth (the meaning of “Adam”) to dwell in the abundance and beauty that God created here. We are human. And, for us, God assumed human nature.

For us men and for our salvation,”

the Son of God (who has absolutely no material shape or form)

“came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.”[iii]

Yes, every Christian would agree that Jesus Christ is universally unique. But, I am trying to come at this from the perspective, not only of a Christian, but also of a mere theist who is cosmologically minded, one who believes in “the ultimate reality that everyone calls God”[iv] and wonders about the relationships of other possible universes to God, who is the Unmoved Mover. How has God revealed Godself to other created minds in unknown worlds – if other such creatures and worlds exist? I don’t have the answer and I don’t think anyone ever will. And I also don’t think that we ever, even remotely, need to know. What we can come to know – and what we need to know for our ultimate fulfillment as human beings – is how God reveals Godself to us.

We can come to understand and experience the relationship between our world and God, discovering the intimate and loving plan that God has for us, for each and every human being. How? By turning to the one who is fully God and fully Man; by loving and following the Son of God, who lovingly assumed our human nature and became one of us, living and breathing with a Sacred Heart. Through him, we can touch the starry face of God and know the embrace beyond time and space.

Now, when I look up at the dewy night sky and contemplate the trillions of stars and billions of galaxies beyond sight, I thank God ever more richly for giving Himself completely to me in and through, the one and only, Jesus Christ. The next time that you wonder why we humans think that we are so special, or even doubt the existence of God when hearing scientists talk about the multiverse, remember that the Infinite/Eternal One, the Source of All Life, became one of us in Christ, out of infinite and eternal love. Christ Jesus is the singularly perfect intimate union of human and divine.

 

©Christina Chase 2014

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

[i] Genesis 1:1

[ii] John 3:16

[iii] Nicene Creed

[iv] St. Thomas Aquinas

Pregnant

Joy is a thing with wings that flies ever to its source;

and if that source is love, how beautiful its course.

 Like a bird cupped gently in the hands, she holds the joy of her good news close to her heart, eager to set free the fluttering wings and let it fly. Such an intimate gift has been given to Mary by the Mighty One – to her, a simple, humble girl, with nothing to give in return. Having opened herself completely to God and surrendering her whole self to His Word, her heart now beats solely for love of Him and the Divine child that she is secretly bearing within her. Mary, enraptured with love, needs to share that love with a kindred soul, as the joy of it fills her near to bursting. So, with alacrity, and with no worry for the distance of the journey, the young woman sets off for the hills of Judah to be with her kinswoman, Elizabeth – who, Mary has been told, has also been blessed with a miraculous pregnancy.

Some 90 miles as the dove flies, on rocky paths, over swells and dales, through the gold and green land of Palestine in springtime, Mary travels swiftly and tirelessly, her joy undaunted, her desire undimmed. Along the way, she accepts night’s shelter and a few serendipitous cart rides from the kindness of strangers. The flutterings and singings of the good news that is nestled deeply in Mary’s heart shine forth on her face to the people, the animals, even the trees and the very stones, that she passes by. All is lightness and goodwill with her, wherever she is in her journey. When, finally, after several days sojourning, she comes to the hillside atop which Elizabeth’s home is perched, Mary can contain her excitement no longer and breaks into a run up the long, terraced path. She calls out as she flies, “Elizabeth! Elizabeth!” Her exultation expressed in her cries.

Just within the open doorway of the stone house, Elizabeth drops the spinning from her hands. Something has caught her attention. The ball of wool rolls across the floor as she turns her eyes, puzzled, to look outward. She wonders what it was. Something very far off, yet very near, something like the sound of a song or a prayer or a whispered breeze… or like the deepest silence. Elizabeth pushes herself up from her seat and looks out through the door, listening, but hears nothing distinctive. And then, suddenly, she hears, as clear as day, the sounding of her own name. The baby within her womb leaps in response, like a lamb in the sunshine, with joy all through, and Elizabeth is overcome with awe. Young Mary now appears in the courtyard, panting and beaming, trembling with gladness, her ready greeting flowing out from her lips.

The girl is radiant with the morning sun and Elizabeth, shielding her sight from the glow, moves closer. As the older woman looks into Mary’s dark, sparkling eyes, she feels herself gazing into the depths of the starry cosmos, into paradisiacal beauty, a glimpse of pure genesis. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Elizabeth’s testimony pours out of her soul and the entirety of her being with the rush of Spirit within her. She herself begins to tremble with joyful humility and wonder, saying, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.” The aging eyes light up with the brightness of realized faith and hope. “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord,” Elizabeth says, as she looks with true veneration and affection upon the woman before her, and then is silent.

Mary’s deep eyes widen with the wonder of the words that she has been hearing from her kinswoman. She unconsciously presses her small hands upon her own abdomen as she looks upon Elizabeth’s pregnancy and she smiles with deep sympathy. Like Mary, Elizabeth is in humble awe to be blessed by the Lord. Mary knows that it is the presence of the divine child within her that has pulled such praise from Elizabeth’s soul. In a new, deeper fullness of understanding of the gift that she herself has been given, Mary’s heart rises with the glory of the Lord. The joy of the good news, which she has been holding close for so long, Mary now releases in glorious flight as she proclaims,

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.   For behold, from now on all generations  will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,  as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

The two women of expectancy join hands. Mary’s song of praise has filled them with delight and deeply satisfying peace – with blessedness. The young woman laughs as she twines her arm through her elder’s.  Together they enter the stone house, trusting in the goodness of God to feed all who hunger for holiness, to lift up all who are poor in spirit, and to keep the divine promise of Salvation and Newness of Life made for all who believe in God’s word.

Christina Chase

This has been Part 3 of the Mary Series (continued from In the Cloud of Glory… )

In the Cloud of Glory a Portal Opens

Mary Series: Part 2 (continued from A Stranger Appears… )

        First troubled with wonder and puzzlement, then sincerely trusting and deeply curious, a young woman’s response to a strange visitor is about to change the world. Of all the human beings to be conceived in all of time, she is the single one chosen for the single most earth-shattering – and earth-redeeming – mission to be given to a creature born of woman and man. The divine message has been revealed to Mary, kneeling on the earthen floor of her childhood home, her hands lying still on her lap, bits of bread dough on her fingers, that she will conceive and bear a son whose kingdom will have no end: the Messiah, the Chosen One of God. Mary wants to know how she, as a virgin, will become pregnant – not because she is doubtful, but because she has faith in God’s word. She just wants to know, in simple and beautiful human curiosity, how it is going to happen. Mary’s angelic visitor, Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, does not punish Mary for asking such an honest and faithful question. Her innocence is rewarded with an answer.

        To Mary, the angel says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Finished speaking, the angel waits for Mary’s response.

        Thoughts blow through Mary’s practical mind like clouds are borne across the May sky.  So, Joseph will not be the father – but, will he know? Will an angel tell him of the pregnancy so that he will not be alarmed and hurt when her body begins to swell with the child? Or will the origin of the child be kept as secret as it is mysterious and, so, she be accused of the adulterous betrayal of her betrothed, the punishment for which is death by stoning? …Son of God… And hear: Elizabeth’s long prayed for baby is given to her – wondrous news from Almighty God!  The thought vapors of Mary’s mind do not gather and darken in storm but, rather, are dissipated by the constant current of Mary’s will, enabling the light to shine clearly.

        For with God nothing will be impossible.

        Mary, ever faithful to first love purely given to her in the spark of her life, believes. She has been told that it is Divine Will for her to bear the Son of God, who shall be conceived in her womb by the power of God overshadowing her. Whatever human interference may try to thwart the plan of Providence, Mary is willing to place herself in God’s hands. No matter the earthly consequences, the cost or risk to her personal life, Mary wills not to be deceived. For, she knows that life itself is the gratuitous gift of Eternal Being – gift created by, with, and for, love. And she knows who she is – all that she has been and all she ever will be – the eternal servant of love. It is because of her great love that Mary will refuse God nothing. She is entirely willing to give all of herself away… to be the poorest of the poor, the lowest of the low, an empty vessel to be filled with God’s incarnate love.
Mary knows exactly who she is and she wills never to forget.

        Never has a human being been more free than Mary is in this moment. Unfettered, unchained, unbound is she by any self-centered concern that is but folly to one who experiences true freedom. Created in the divine image and likeness, Mary most perfectly reflects the divine power of freewill and intellect and imagination in the clarity of her mind, body, heart, and soul, here and now. God wills her total freedom. She must choose. All Creation, the natural and the supernatural, suspends.

        Holding back nothing, with clear eyes, light breath, tender mouth, and her palms upturned, Mary raises her heart to the messenger of Divinity, thus lifted up while still on her knees on the earthen floor. “Behold,” she says simply and wholeheartedly, spreading her arms open wide, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

        Thus, in pure, free abandonment, Mary completely gives over her person and her life to God, so that God may do with her whatsoever He wills. At the sounding of her last syllables, your word, the angel of the Lord bows down low before Mary and then departs from her, as a lamp light departs with the rising of the sun.

        In the sleepy village of Nazareth, a mist is forming, laden with the fragrance of lilies and roses. Some see it merely as steam rising from cooking pots and others as smoke from the trash burning fire. The mist is rolling sweetly and with greater intensity around the home of the virgin named Mary. Within, Mary quietly, with the utmost peace in all her mind, heart, and body, every limb, continues the making of the day’s bread. As the mist enters like a cloud through the open door, the woman presses her small hands deeply into the dough and exhales, hushed, consumed by love.

* * *

        All cruelty cease in this moment, all pride vanish on earth, for what has begun with the free assent of a human being to God – Restoration to Paradise begins its rush into the world! A modest child thinks not of herself, but only of the Holy Other and, purely giving herself away, allows a portal to be opened through which God Godself enters mortality by assuming human nature.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters “…the Power of the Most High will overshadow you…” “There I will meet with you… I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat” …the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. … And the Word became flesh… in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily….

        Glory to God in the Highest! Thy Shekinah glory…

        Yes, let there be, in this fraction of a moment in the Eternal Now, not one act of tyranny nor deception nor apathy among mortals – for Truth Itself, Love Itself, is willingly taking on human flesh in utter humility, and thereby sanctifying us all. Oh, glorious heartbeat across the blue and green earth that, in this moment when time was pierced and space was torn, beat with remembered purity and freedom, when human will was married with the will of the Divine and Divine Incarnate fruit takes form! …Yet… only for that gleam of a moment, only for one quick beat of the heart, and then, humans, unaware of the actual living presence of their Savior in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, unaware of the Kingdom of God quickening, return to their forgetfulness, neglectfulness, resuming their fallen, self-centered ways, all…

        …But for Mary…

   Christina Chase

———————————————————————————————

 Scripture quotes in italics  taken from John 1:1, Genesis 1:2, Luke 1:35, Exodus 25:22, Leviticus 16:2, Exodus 40:34, John 1:14, Philippians 2:7-8