The Message of Mary
An Inspired Essay by Rev. Marcia Sutton
As we approach the Easter season, the focus is usually on the gift that Jesus Christ gave to humanity through his demonstration of eternal life in God. But, this time, my thoughts keep turning to his mother, Mary. I've known and understood for many years that it was her purity of heart, a virgin heart if you will, that brought forth the love to bring Jesus into the world. However, during this period of Lent, I've been asking a new question. "What strength of heart did it take to stand witness to her son's crucifixion?" Surely, over the years, she had gone through many phases of letting him go, of releasing him, so that his life could serve a greater purpose in their world. What faith did it take, knowing that she had birthed a "chosen one," only to stand there at the foot of Calvary and see him rejected, betrayed and forgotten?
And so I have been pondering, "What is it that Mother Mary can say to me as I long to bring forth a greater and fuller revelation of the Living Christ within my being?" It's as if she responds by saying that those three qualities love, strength and faith must be realized and nurtured in my soul in order for me to take the journey to the resurrection. I know that's where I want to be. I also feel and believe that it's the destiny for each of us. It's the Divine Plan that has been in place from the beginning.
I try to imagine what it must have been like for Mary to enter into such love at his birth and such sorrow at his crucifixion. And, oh, the joy of his resurrection. Yes, she tells me that this process is a passage for each of us. First, we must love in order to enter into the awareness of Christ. Then, the sorrow rips us open as we witness our own ignorance and error. We feel the pain of the breaking up of attachment and false dependency to the things of the world. It is here that death seems so inviting, so real. The dark night of the soul is truly upon us. But death is not the final plan. It is not to be.
Eventually, the lightness of joy breaks forth as Christ is resurrected anew in us. Actually, it is here that we become It's greater expression in the world. Just as Jesus appeared to the disciples to anoint them in Christ so that they could go forth to minister the Good News, so we are called into this Easter season to be anointed in the Truth of Christ within us. Such a path we travel.
Love calls us to this journey and it takes enduring strength to continue through the many "deaths" of our life experiences. But, slowly step by step our faith is established and grows as the call of the inner life is greater than the pull of the outer world. This is exactly what Mary faced at the foot of Calvary. She stood there, seeing what the world had delivered. Yet, somewhere from deep within her being, the strength and faith that had been practiced over the years carried her forward. Perhaps she found solace in those precious words spoken by the Angel Gabriel nearly three decades earlier; "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:28,30) Today, I know that each of us is "highly favored" on our journey. Those words spoken to Mary are really promises of God for us this day. May we find solace in them too.
So, during this Easter season, I call forth Mary's love to find my strength, to expand my faith and to realize the resurrected Christ within my very own being. I also claim and know it for all of us. Resting in this awareness, the familiar prayer, first prayed over a thousand years ago, beckons me....
Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
May Mary's love, strength and faith bless you and yours as we kneel in awe in the Easter morning of our consciousness.