For our Lord gave me no revelation about any particular individual except our Lady Saint Mary; and he showed her three times. The first was as she was conceived, the second was as she was in her sorrows at the foot of the cross, and the third as she is now, in delight, honour and joy.
Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Joy; Long Text, Chapter 25.
This is our human condition. We want so much but we feel incapable. We believe in love but where is it? There are so many obstacles to break through within ourselves in order to become free and to become present to others; to their misery and to their person.Jean Varnier, Eruption to Hope
The fact that Mary was actually there, with John and the others, at the foot of the cross astounds me. What courage. Not only was she not afraid to identify with Jesus as his closest family, but chose also to witness the abomination that crucifixion was. The full horror of the cost of his humanity laid out before her, Mary was the only person that has ever come close to sharing the Father’s pain at seeing their son go willingly through such torture. Neither, I believe, turned their head away.
So often, we too are faced with the full horror of the brokenness of humanity. FGM, rape, child abuse, torture, injury, terminal illness. So often we turn away, unable to engage, it touching something so deep in us that it’s just too difficult. It’s not because we aren’t loving, it often because it simply leaves us with too many questions; unsettling us because there are too few answers. To keep on looking, engaging, identifying would require a response that we simply just don’t feel we have. We come face to face with our inadequacy. This was my experience when faced first hand with the horror of genocide. Family torturing family, neighbours that had lived together in peace for generations turning and committing atrocities that are literally unspeakable.
Yet Mary, archetype of the church, mother of Christ, remained. She looked, she watched. She was present. As he became the sin, shame and brokenness of the world, she was there. She could solve nothing, do nothing. Sometimes, as individuals we are simply asked to be present, fully present at the hardest of places, at the hardest of times. As the church, we are often simply asked to be present. Fully present in the brokenness of humanity.