These flowers, the lily in Mary’s hand and the roses around her Immaculate Heart, are part of the image on this Christmas ornament (made of frail thin glass as in the days of yore) which I purchased this past week for $1.00 at our little parish (Prince of Peace) flea market after it was all over and most everything else was hauled away by a second hand store. It was donated to our sale by the family of the 90 million year old lady of our parish who died it seems like such a very short time ago. I put this up in her honor. She was a most classy devout Catholic lady.
She didn’t at all like stupidity in the faith and wanted to be clear about the faith herself and so always was filled with questions for which she actually sought and was content with an answer that was demonstrated from Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the various important interventions of the Sacred Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, demonstrated, that is, in the context of today’s dumbed-downness not only without losing their pristine teaching, but having that shine like a beacon using present circumstances as a wick and lighthouse lamp magnifier. So many these days instead ask questions not so as to get an answer, but as an attack that will not accept any answer that is different from the world, the flesh and the devil. Instead, as I say, her questions were questions of worthiness.
Blessed Mary, of course, is the supreme example of one who had questions of worthiness, going after difficult mysteries with a heart open to answers from the Most High, making this into a kind of extreme sport, for the Gospel says that she kept all of Jesus’ words, throwing them about (συμβάλλουσα) in her heart (Luke 2:19). A rather active meditation, that. Luke later let us know how this was going for her. Most translations will say that she treasured all of Jesus’ words in her heart, but the Greek has the sense that no matter what, in any and all circumstances, she is not going to be distracted from those words, but she is going to continue keeping them in her heart: διετήρει (Luk 2:51). Those words, and the Sacred Mysteries to which they pointed, were indeed her treasure.
Should we have a question as to what she thought was the content of such Sacred Mysteries of God’s unstoppable love for us, we need not think that she intended to hide what she knew in her heart. No. In fact, we can go ahead and look inside her heart at will, for it was pierced open with a sword of sorrow as she herself, standing under the Cross of our Divine Savior, looked into the pierced-open and stopped-dead Sacred Heart of her Son as He hung tortured to death on the Cross. Both of their hearts are wide open. You can see that in the traditional image above.
Yes, Jesus’ love is, of course, worthy. Yes, He wants us to be in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us. Yes, that sorrow on Good Friday turns to great joy. He has conquered, this Son of Mary. And He intends to bring us to heaven.