Nestled in the small chapel of the Heart’s Home in Brooklyn, on the floor below the altar, sat a small statue of Mary. As she was on the floor, I hadn’t noticed her until I knelt down below the tabernacle. She was kneeling with her hands resting on her knees, palms facing upward, gazing slightly downward. She was teaching me how to sit before the Lord. Open. Empty. Ready. She was so beautiful! So calm. Free from doubts, fears, anxieties. Trusting in the Lord.
I hadn’t realized until last night that she was an Advent Mary. When I arrived to the chapel for evening prayer, for the first time since returning from my Christmas vacation, she had been moved up higher to a table in the corner of the chapel opposite the tabernacle. But this time her hands were not empty. This time she held a child in her arms. She was a Christmas Mary! How could I have missed it? When I saw her kneeling with open arms, I thought that was all there was to the statue. Of course! She was waiting for the Lord. Of course she would receive him!
I realized then how often I see the beauty in waiting, in being patient, in begging the Lord come with haste. Sometimes I am so ready, in my mind, to give the Lord my open arms and say “yes” to his will for me that I am caught dumbfounded that he actually put something in my hands. It is so much easier to say “yes” to something abstract, etherial, mysterious: “God’s will”. How much harder it is to say “yes” when I know what my mission is.
I wait in the silence of Advent, eager for the Christ child, but when Christmas comes, this little child tells me that I have to change, that I have to suffer for his sake, that the only way to him is through the cross. That’s not what I asked for. That’s not what I thought I asked for.
Now I must ask for even more. More strength. More grace. More hope.
Mary. The greatest missionary. Her “yes” was so complete. A “yes” to what might be. A “yes” to what is. A “yes” of mind, body, heart, and soul. A “yes” to the entire mission that God entrusted to her. Magnificat!
May the Holy Spirit teach us the “yes” of the Christmas Mary.