Our Lady’s Seeking
I spoke already about the frantic search by Mary and Joseph for the lost Jesus. And we have discussed that this quest for the lost Jesus is designed by Jesus himself so that we will always be seeking a relationship with the authentic and true Christ.
But it is important that we do not lose sight of those whose life is marked by the searching that is the result of human brokenness. “If you have ever loved anyone very deeply and then lost him through separation, estrangement, or even by death, you know there is an instinct to look for him in every crowd.” We probably are well aware of the ache of a heart infatuated with another, feeling painfully when they are not with us.
How many times did Our Lady seek her son? There was, of course, that time in the temple, but what of other times? How about this time? “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”” She sought out her son when his reply was hardly what we might first consider. “His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside asking for you. But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?”
Was this a time of Our Lady’s seeking? Were there times when she sought God because she did not understand all of the actions of Jesus, or did she seek God because she was worried about her son? What Mother would not feel anguish for her son if she was indeed worried about him.
Did she need to look for Jesus the Christ with the same anticipation she did when she searched for Him in the temple? Did she not need to seek out the Divine Son who was her Lord as well as her son? What of when she was at the foot of the Cross, watching her Son suffer in perhaps every conceivable way. She saw her son suffer physically obviously. But what of the pain of the shame of public execution? What of the pain of seeing her son experience the inexplicable emotions and sufferings that come for one in that situation?
And yet for Our Lady the solution to her worry was not doubt in God. Rather, it was a turning toward God, a more diligent seeking to find His presence in her life. “Like Christ, she had turned her face “steadfastly towards Jerusalem” on that day years ago: like Him, she never looked back.”
But while Mary followed God unreservedly and did not sin, before the angel asked her to fulfill God’s will, and more importantly fulfill God’s promise for all of humanity, Houselander reminds us that it was the Christ who moved Mary to an extraordinary place. For before her fiat, Mary was ordinary. People would likely not know her beyond her own time were it not for the Christ. But because of the Christ and her “yes” to God completely, she is the extraordinary woman who plays the indispensable role in salvation.
“Until Christ became man, her story was inaudible, inaudible until He laughed and spoke and wept; when His voice was heard on earth no more, Mary too returned to silence.
It was the silence and obscurity of ordinariness, of her extraordinary humility; and once again it was our life.
It was another Advent, a withdrawing and folding upon the Life within her life; but a withdrawing that did not separate her from other people but only brought her closer to them; for she had found her Christ in them all.
She found Christ in everyone, and everyone found Christ in her, because they did not know that she was an extraordinary person who had given birth to a mysterious life in themselves. They only knew that she was inexhaustibly sympathetic, illimitably wise, and wholly loveable.”
Previous Commentaries on the Reed of God
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