The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Borne By What We Bear: Advent Meditation #4

During the last night of a fall course on Trinitarian Spirituality at Northern Seminary, my students and I recently marveled at Jesus’ words, “…you are in me and I am in you.”  (John 14:20)  We pondered the practical implications of being surrounded by Christ's gracious life—protecting, leading, guiding, even as we carry His life within us—strengthening, convicting, comforting.

Nearing the end of his ministry, Jesus was opening to his disciples a reality that his mother had long lived within.  For from the moment Gabriel had told her she was “favored, ”she knew herself to be “in-graced” by God.  She carried a son who would come to us “full of grace and truth.”  And  she carried him as that same grace poured through the Father’s heart to meet her moment-by-moment need.

And so, as von Balthasar so beautifully says, “she bears what she lets herself be borne by.” (The Threefold Garland)

Grace is in Mary’s steps as she hastens to Elizabeth, and grace is in her trembling heart as her womb has begun to swell and her feet move more slowly back to face the unknown in Nazareth three months later.  Grace is with her as Joseph listens to his dream, and strengthens her knees as a donkey sways with her bulging form toward Bethlehem. In her utter vulnerability, grace enables Joseph to find a shelter for her and her child, and grace enables the small family to escape when Herod’s envy would bring an end to earth's redemption before the Father’s grace en-fleshed could unfold in all his fullness.

After Mary and Elizabeth, the first person to know the tangibility of this in-filling grace was Joseph. Pam's picture radiates the joy of a Joseph in-graced, borne on his own journey at Mary's side by the very grace she bore.

“You are in me, I am in you.”  We, too, are borne by what we bear.  It is the mystery of faith. Like Mary, like Joseph, we carry within us a reality much greater than we can contain.  We, too, are surrounded by the very grace that renews us from the inside out.  As Advent is fulfilled, let us sing the old carol with an in-graced heart:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels,
Their great, glad tidings tell:
O Come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord, Emmanuel.

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