Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gentle Power

I have a confession to make.

I've always found Mary a bit intimidating.

Crazy, I know, but there's something about her being the only human who ever lived without sin that's always made me feel like she couldn't possibly help but frown on the rest of us. I've always marveled at those who were able to call on her for comfort, because it seemed to me that her glow of purity couldn't possibly function as anything but a glaring spotlight on how flawed the rest of us were.

My mind, I must confess, still rather sees it that way. But recently I had an encounter that reminded me that the highest knowledge doesn't come from my mind.

Back in May, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe visited my midwestern church. The story of Juan Diego has always been a favorite of mine, and if I have thought vaguely of traveling to Mexico to see his miraculous cloak. If that's possible, it won't be for many years, so I was delighted to learn that the image was coming to me. I couldn't wait to see it, but I must admit that I was entirely unprepared for the actual experience of it.

Her gentleness was undeniable; I puzzled over how I might ever have seen her as aloof and intimidating. Her words to Juan Diego--"am I not your mother?"--suddenly rang true in a way that they never had before. I could have sat at her feet forever and simply absorbed the peace and gentleness that she radiated, and I know that I was not alone in that. Nearly everyone in the church was moved to tears at one time or another, or continuously.

It's really impossible for me to describe the way that the power of her gentle, loving spirit washed over everyone in her presence--it's certainly nothing I was prepared for in viewing an image, and I have delayed making this post for weeks in hopes that words would come to me that would allow me to share something of what I saw and felt in that church that day, but they have not come. I can only say that I cannot even begin to imagine the experience of someone like Juan Diego, or Bernadette, to feel the full force of her presence--it is on one hand difficult to imagine surviving such intensity and in another quite easy to understand how their lives were so completely transformed.

Perhaps, in the end, it is just as well that the experience defies description. It is one everyone should experience firsthand.


Guy Vestal said...

Very inspired writing throughout, nice site. Thanx 4 sharing...

God Bless...

Soul Pockets said...

Great post. When I think of Mary i think of our earthly mothers. How as children we see them a beings who can do no wrong. As we get older we see that our mothers do have flaws and are not perfect. This can be difficult to realize for some. But Mary is our mother who is perfect. A mother who we can always turn to and understand that she loves us flaws and all. What a wonderful gift Gos has given us. Thank you for the post.

Theresa H. Hall said...

Beautifully written Tiffany. I love Our Blessed Virgin Mary because she was God's chosen one.

Anytime I hear the question, "who would you like to become or sit down with and talk to?", my answer is the same. The Virgin Mary.

The song "Let It Be," by The Beatles is a song which flows through my mind quite often, as do the religious songs from Mass.

Rest assured that She knows your heart and the words you couldn't convey.

Again. Thank you for your prayers as I truly appreciated them. :)

Jeunelle Foster said...

Visiting Trinidad years ago, we passed by
a beautiful Catholic Church and right out front was a newspaper stand and I went to purchase a newspaper.
The front page read...
Man got blinded by looking under the Virgin Mary's dress. Apparently the sun was shining directly on that special spot and the statue of Mary was painted in gold, the sun's rays bounced off the statue and blinded him when he went to look under the Virgin Mary's dress.
How true is this story?
Lot's of people in Trinidad believed it
and still visit that Church in large numbers.
As to that blind man, who knows what happened to him.
What did he expect to find? A miracle?
Only the Lord knows.

lotgk said...

Not for sure but didn't Mary have a child out of wedlock?
Her and Joseph were not married at the Christ conception.
She was a virgin, and hence, even if Mary and Joseph were married, they did not consummate the marriage....

just tossing that out there.

amit said...

what i think, that she was sent by god. or we canb say ahe is the one messanger of god. but as we are human being we can do mmany things wrng causse sometimes we are not aware of something and smetimes we are. but we can change our life by being inspiring by her as she was or what she did.

Theresa H. Hall said...

I really prayed to her for financial help with getting the new heat pump and she sent us a generous friend. I am so grateful.

C. J. Serling said...

I am glad to hear such a wonderful story about your spiritual progress. I have always been fascinated by Mary, she is really the perfect example, isn't she?

Elizabeth said...

One of my favorite images of Mary... Being a convert, I love hearing how others encounter Mary.

cj said...

I came across your site quite by accident, and am now perplexed and confused by a single sentence on your blog, which is clearly a commonly held belief.

I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and cannot believe how many people have mistakenly believed that Mary lived completely without sin. I am even more perplexed as to why - when even Jesus himself explained that the same is his mother, his brother, and his sister, meaning all of us are equal in the sight of God.

Even more unsettling is the number of people who seem to be praying to Mary, even thought it is clearly stated in the scriptures that we are to pray to the Father through Christ. Mary was not a messenger, she received a message from an angel (which is a messenger).

Mary DID marry Joseph, and they raised other children together.

The bottom line is that NO ONE is perfect except Christ Himself. Not one person, which is why Jesus was sacrificed. Because each and every human on the earth was born into sin. Mary is no exception, she was human, and must repent and believe on the Lord our God to guarantee her salvation, just as the rest of the people.

Just a few tidbits of information to get your wheels turning.



RockStories said...

CJ, I suspect that you aren't "perplexed and confused" at all, but simply using my post as a springboard to argue for your own beliefs. That's fine, and even admirable. We all have a responsibility to share the truth--you think I'm confused as to what that truth is and I think that you are, which leaves us as a bit of an impasse, but I'm sure your intentions are good.

Rest assured that I have read the Bible, as have hundreds of millions of other Catholics who have come away still believing that our church's teachings in this area are accurate.

It does seem to me, though, that you are confused on an important point--the meaning of the word "pray". Every court pleading, for instance, prays for relief. You may have read older novels or seen plays or movies in which one person says to another, "I pray you..." to introduce a request. "Pray" simply means to ask for something. When Catholics "pray" to Mary, they are asking for something: her intercession.

You have undoubtedly at some point in your life asked a friend or family member to pray for you, or been asked to pray for someone else. When you do so, you are "praying" for the same kind of intercession that some Catholics ask of Mary and other saints.

myrtle said...

Hi Tiffany,
You must have heard about Christians slaughtered in Orissa(India) while the govt. here sits here doing nothing.A blog has been put up to bring the plight of the Christians in Orissa at
Please spend some time on it and if you could propagate it, probably we could expands its reaches-Fibinse(sorry to come gatecrashing like this )
Thanks and God Bless.

"Hanging on a Hyphen" said...

The blessed virgin also has legions of devotees here. And her images are cnsidered miraculous. I feel for you. The idea of a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth while maintaining her purity is really hard to ingest. If we took it literally, I can imagine the bby Jesus coming out from her... uh, never mind... But why dwell on the sleaze, hey I am corrupting the whole immaculate conception thing. You raised quite a point and made me think. Very thought-provoking indeed...

Distant feet said...

SHE simply moves people. I wouldn't have known too what to say, I have had so many experiences that I couldn't just share just to anyone, Running the risk of being ridiculed and branded as delusional...but it doesn't matter anymore, If i sound delusional or even weird, then let it be. The experience is just worth it..Too bad , Many do not open their hearts because of pride. I am glad you shared your story.
God bless.