While I realize Mary of Bethany (by some historians and theologians considered to be also referred to as Mary Magdalene) was a hermit in the south of Gaul (France), living in a stone hut known as the cave of St. Baum, this morning thoughts of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, rise with the sunlight.
Such hard work yesterday, with daughter and son-in-law traveling here to help another day with installing cabinets and also lending much-appreciated hands with ceiling board installation. We worked a long day, and today the back pain is radiating in various directions through this mortal frame. Truly, this is a literal Sabbath day of mostly bed rest.
Yet I am pondering Mary, Jesus' mother and our mother, and also bequeathed as mother of the Church. Perhaps I am still sorting through accepting being an immolation during Mass, of participating in silence, faculties suspended, the movement of His Real Presence within my heart, mind and soul--the sole life in this my temporal body, in the Mass, united temporally and mystically with the Body of Christ in all members.
The Virgin Mary allowed herself to be indwelt and overcome by the Holy Spirit. She accepted; she agreed. She did not know what would be the experience. How exactly would the Holy Spirit bring about the baby in the womb, the birth, the life of the child, the mysterious yet auspicious locutions regarding his future?
Mary continued living her life, doing her present moment tasks, living out her spiritual journey in obedience to the will of God. From all we know of her personally, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, theologically, we grasp her quiet ways, her focus on God, in love, of the devotion in her vocation as wife and mother and daughter of God.
In Mary's later years (some researchers suggest she lived about fourteen years following the Crucifixion of Jesus), there is evidence that she lived in a small stone house in Ephesus. It is also suggested that she lived there with but one maid servant. Some of the apostles, particularly John, would visit her when in that area of Turkey.
It is also written in documents of the early centuries, that she meditated in the garden--the bit of land behind her house. She used stones to "mark" the meditations she developed surrounding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Her doing so is considered the origination of the Stations of the Cross.
What comes to my mind and heart is that Mary is a great mentor and model for me as a hermit. She is a role model for being recollected in spirit and in His Real Presence: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Her life image presents itself to me as being the embodiment of the Nine S'--a means of hopeful unfolding of my chosen Gospel Rule of Life.
Silence. Solitude. Slowness. Suffering. Selflessness. Simplicity. Stability. Stillness. Serenity.
In life and in dormition, for all eternity, Mary emanates the power of presence, the life of one existing in the Order of the Present Moment perpetually. She is not advocating much other than the spiritual view, the spiritual life, yet in a very practical understanding and enacting of our daily tasks and trials.
Repeatedly through the centuries in visitations to living beings, through visions, dreams, and locutions, Mary asks that we pray. (She often appears holding a rosary.) She adjures us to cease sinning. She intones that we obey, follow, adhere to the teachings of, and love (as she loves) Jesus, the Christ: Messiah.
Just accept. Be an immolation. Consider and love Mary as mother and mentor who accepted the unknown in faith and love; she also accepted being an immolation. I am grasping more and more that being an immolation is really not all that painful if one dies to outer and personal expectations and desires. Die to all that, and being an immolation becomes grace-filled, lovely, freeing, and genuine.
Do not fear. The Holy Spirit will accomplish God's will in us when we acquiesce to His loving will, when we fall in love with His Real Presence: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word, O Lord. Come, be bound to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; flow in the Holy Spirit through the heart of Mary. Little children, let us love one another in God-Is-Love. God bless His Real Presence in us!