Having focused on the observance of silence during Advent with Mary as our model and example, I would like to reflect a little further on Our Lady, the Mother of Jesus, our Saviour, who will be born tonight.
Our most recent Apostolic Constitution on Contemplative life by Pope Francis – Vultum Dei quaerere, ( Seeking the face of God) states that:
“Mary was able to receive the Word because she was a woman of silence – no barren or empty silence, but rather one rich and overflowing. The silence of the Virgin Mother was also full of love, for love always prepares us to welcome the Other and others." ( VDq 33)
We have this teaching on silence, on the fruitfulness of silence and on love – all so very important in our way of life. Mary was a disciple of the Word. She kept in her heart all the words of her Son. She listened, adhered, gave herself, and was utterly immersed in the abyss of His being:
Let your voice sound in my ears:
for your voice is sweet and your face comely. ( Song of songs 2:14)
Every fibre of Mary’s being vibrated with that appeal whereby her life was given wholly as a listening to the unique Truth: Jesus Himself.
Her flesh was the cradle of the eternal Word springing from the ‘sealed fountain’ of her soul; her Magnificat is the exultation of the Word in the deepest places of her heart.
All Mary’s powers resound with the mysteries that are cried forth in the silence of God, since in her night of unawareness of self, she is all lost in the divine brightness of her Child. She says nothing of herself, does nothing of herself, intermingles nothing of herself. By no idea or image or word is the Ineffable limited in her; and the splendour of divine Light meets in her no shadow. She offers her transparency as a pure window to the sun, and the Mystery of Jesus flames through her unhindered. She is, as the author, Maurice Zundel says; The Basilica of Silence. ( Title of Book: Our Lady of Wisdom; page 36-38)
She is a woman in love prepared to serve her Lord completely and immediately. At the Annunciation, in last Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Francis said that in her response to the Angel Gabriel she could have asked for a little time to think about the request, or even for more explanations about what would happen; perhaps she could have set some conditions… Instead, she does not take time, she does not keep God waiting, she does not delay. What an example she is for us.
In order for Jesus to be born in us we need to prepare our hearts through prayer, not to let ourselves be distracted by of all sorts of things. It is Jesus who is most important. In the manger in Bethlehem there is reality, poverty and love. Let us ask our Lady to help us prepare our hearts to be like hers: free from evil, welcoming, loving and ready to receive her Son, Jesus, our Saviour tonight. For if the birth of Jesus does not touch our lives- mine, yours, ours, everyone’s- it slips past us in vain and how much poorer we are for it.
“When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night had run the half of her swift course,
down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your
all-powerful Word” ( Wisdom 18:14)
Vultum Dei quaerere, ( Seeking the face of God) - 33
Our Lady of Wisdom: by Maurice Zundel : pages 36-39
Pope Francis’ homily on 4th Sunday of Advent Year B - 20/12/2020
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