There’s Something about Mary: The Strength of Love in her YES!

Posted: March 3, 2013 by Ty in Mary of Nazareth
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Iconogrial

Iconogrial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March 3, 2013 @ Unity of Calgary (10 a.m.)

            In the Christianities of the world, the most venerated person, after Jesus of Nazareth, is his mum, Mary. It is amazing when you think about her, why would so many turn to her? Why as recently as 50 years ago would the largest group of Christians debate whether or not to make her a co-redeemer with Christ?  Is this peasant girl turned Mother of God so important?

Simple, in the patriarchal and misogynistic cover up that began in the 300’s with first Constantine, and then followed by others as the message of peace, love, hope, faith, and joy was co-opted for political gains…the mystical, the grandmother tradition was ripped out of it. Even it seems in more progressive thought that has emerged within spiritualities in the late nineteenth to early 21st centuries we still tend to focus overtly on the masculine when it comes to naming something, or if we work with the feminine we leave it very mystical and out there.

This morning we are going to get down and dirty with what has become the archetype for the Goddess, the feminine side of God, once in Hebrew yore known simply as Wisdom, or has a name now, a name that we can claim and should claim as part of our story. That name is Mary.

Who is she now? She is an apparition that has been appearing to individuals and communities since twenty years before her death. The first recorded sighting of her is in 40 CE to James, a follower of the Way, and she has continued since then. She has appeared most famously in Lourdes and Guatemala, but do you know she started appearing 10 years before hostilities broke out in the former Yugoslavia and all the way throughout the brutality of war, genocide, and rape there attempting to get anyone from any side to listen to the message of the creator for the children. The message? Well it was the same one she brought to Rwanda as well.

That we as a people need to journey deep into the heart of the Holy Mystery to drink deeply of the divine love, and then live this love, all inclusive, all welcoming, rending of labels love out into our world as the antidote for the spiritual illness of hatred that has manifested itself and is destroying us.

A message that she has been resonating with since the First Century CE, a message she spreads in her appearing by taking on the form of whatever is familiar to those in the area whether it be a hag, witch, fairy queen, a divine light, a young woman, a crone, whatever form you can imagine a woman being in to be heard in whichever community comes to mind is how the Holy Mystery sends Mary to bring the message, the same message her son brings when we enter into the Cosmic Christ and it enters into us, unfortunately the political whims of the world have co-opted, abused, and destroyed the name of the simple labourer’s son from Nazareth, so that it is the in the peasant woman who found her voice we hear the clarion call for Love and peace.

So obviously this woman must have a powerful story.  There is much out there about Mary one can Google, or look up, read, even meditations, prayers and services. But it is within the ancient stories we discover who this person is when set in the proper context.

For those of us in New Thought, the Fillmore’s were a product of their generation, and as such the archetypes are tied to the 12 males that walked with Jesus, who was the Cosmic Consciousness the archetypes fed into, these are:  Faith, Love, Strength, Wisdom, Power, Imagination, Purity, Understanding, Will, Order, Enthusiasm, and Life. Those are the twelve powers tied exclusively to the male disciples, yet as you hear about the life of Mary, and then experience Mary’s yes for yourself, the question I pose is simply, is she only one power or is she like her son, the culmination of all? The true twinning of Male/Female…the Holy Grail for some.

She lived in a small town, in a nation that was under occupation by an Empire. Where the people were seen as nothing more than livestock, as a girl, until she could bear children she was seen as a burden on her family, for occupiers she was seen as nothing more than a sex toy if they chose. Once of child bearing age or even before her father would enter a business relationship with another man who wished to purchase the daughter on the hope that a) she could bear children, b) that child be a son. Other than that her role was to take care of the home, even when widowed and the elder son cared for her, it was still up to her to keep the home.

This was an agreement by and for men, that the child was expected to abide by. Once signed she was betrothed to this man, and any visitations or signs of impropriety with a male would end in her either a) being cast out of the city walls, or b) taken before the patriarchal religious authorities and stoned to death.

A world where the faith was passed down though at the apron hem of the mothers, aunts and grandmothers to all genders, until the boys became men at age 12, and at age 30 were expected to wed, move into the main house, and build on attachments to care for their parents and if need be, wives parents. Yet the germination of faith started from the women.

This is a child who never was asked what she thought, was only told what to do. We shall in a moment experience the time she found her voice.

But if you ever enter into the gospel stories of Mary, watch her, she is an amazing woman. Struggling with her own challenges and fears, she goes and helps her aged and pregnant cousin to deliver a prophet into the world even while her betrothed contemplates having her stoned to death or simply cast out to the sex trade workers outside the city walls for the transgression of carrying a child not his; she pushes her son to act out of love and hospitality at a wedding feast; she follows him as a world executes her child, not a prophet or a messiah to her, but her child…as they beat him, and lynch him. She watches it all, and she buries him. She holds his movement together by finding the right people to become leaders. This peasant girl from a town probably no bigger than Bassano, Alberta from a family lower than labour class as it is a labourer that purchases her to be a child bride. Yet it is the simplicity of her strength that shakes the world from its oppression, and that she continues to shine her light into the darkness of destruction, death, feminine, plague, hatred and war and shines brighter still to watch those answer the call of love into the Holy Mystery, and living that love out to transform their world.

We are going to take a moment to enter into that love ourselves this morning. It is a spiritual exercise from Ignatius of Loyola for studying sacred texts, whatever you find sacred texts or music to be.  You hear or read it three times. Each time we rest with a question and seek an answer.  This story is called “The Annunciation” it is the story of the Holy asking Mary to bear a child. My family always ponders how many girls said no because they knew the outcast they would become? But that is a question to ponder another day.

Get comfortable in your seat. Close your eyes. Slow your breath, discovering your rhythm and becoming one with the environment around you. Let your mind cleanse itself, do not worry if a thought pops up, acknowledged it, and then place it aside until after. Feel the pew and this building melt away, feel the dust of the old world, the bustle of livestock, chattering of children working and playing, women talking, perhaps the clang of soldiers moving throughout the village. You are entering into the announcement, you are a thirteen year old peasant girl, who has just been bought by a 50ish year old man to bear his child.

As you prepare to hear the story for the first time, sit and listen, which of the 12 powers are you seeing in action? And let that shape your contemplation of the story.

Read Luke 1:26-39

As you prepare to hear the story a second time, what images are formed or memories surface in your mind as you hear these words? Let you sit with these images/memories and see how the Holy uses them.

For the third and final hearing, can you feel Mary’s anxiety or trepidation to say yes, when was there a time in your life that seizing your yes in love meant a harder road? Sit with that memory and know that, like Mary, you are transforming this world.

Slowly bring your breath back to normal, feel the pew beneath you, the dust melt off you, the sounds of the village vanish, the sounds of the city and this room greet you. Bring your breathing rhythmically up to its normal pace, open your eyes.

Welcome back Mary, how shall we let love Reign in this world?

 

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