I often ponder Mary and John’s relationship after the crucifixion. Perhaps, in giving them to one another from the cross, Yeshua was recognizing the openness and surrender of their hearts to this pivotal moment in his own journey – G*d’s presence and G*d’s mystery. Perhaps he understood the great reverence with which his mother held sacred all things in her secret heart. He surely knew how her faith in life as sacramental allowed the divine spirit to work in her, with her and through her. She must have exemplified this as she raised him – he must have been aware of her enlightened, strong, faithful heart and presence as G*d’s gifts to him. How tremendous to extend these gifts to John and to know that Mary and John would spiritually heal and deepen in their mutual companionship.
Only hearts full of faith can assent to G*d even in the midst of unexpected moments that exceed human intelligence or calculation. Such events can only be comprehended in the light of a faith that perceives the hidden sense of things and situations and reveals the sacred in all things -G*d’s presence and G*d’s mystery. John had recently faltered in his faith and run from the horror befalling Yeshua. It is unknown how it is that he recovered himself and lived into being present at the foot of the cross. Perhaps, Mary assisted him in that – perhaps she reached out to him, consoled him…
A soul united to G*d’s purpose carries the seed of love incarnate in its heart. It guides the living of life as the beautiful expression of that seed unfolding toward G*d. Maybe living life in this way is the richest path of living forward the gospel. One’s life becomes a gospel narrative. Living into G*d’s purpose heart and soul continues the spiraling heart of the empty tomb – unending Love. John and Mary lived this way I am certain. Maybe together they kept all things in their hearts, especially those they did not fully understand, honestly holding an open space for the hidden sense of things that faith ensured existed; faith in G*d’s presence in every moment. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Perhaps, focusing so much on the structured canonical gospels has diminished the vitality of the sacredness in every human life – our own lives as living gospel narratives. What would it mean if the story of the gospel is unfinished? How might we live if we stepped into the story and worked together to shape the meaning of the gospel through our lives?
Mary’s life has been so coopted by Christianity that she has become an archetype of western culture’s constrained view of women – much like Mary Magdalene and of course, the overlooked women disciples. What would happen if we released her from these ties that bind us? “We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). Surely her life is an example of spiritual understanding, moral strength, unwavering faith, a commitment to the word and assisting others. Clearly, these are gifts that exceed and cannot be contained in her worldly status(woman) and qualfifications (mother)as conferred upon her by history and the church.
This Eastertide I am wondering in my heart and soul about Mary’s gospel narrative after the cross. I experience her as a living presence and as a beating heart in the communion of women. Her life makes clear to me that we are the gospel narrative – now, in this moment; and the divine spirit makes the willing heart an artist of the living word.