An unusual thing happened to me today. Paul, from Church, asked people to send to him images of Mary which they liked. He is preparing a presentation showing different representations.
I’ve visited several Marian shrines and at some I’ve bought a statue of Mary depicted in the form she is venerated there. So I decided to photograph some and send them. As I uploaded the images I looked at the face of one in particular and saw in it a member of the congregation. It was extraordinary! I looked at the statue to check but curiously the photograph was not quite in focus and in looking at it my eyes had resolved it a little differently to the face of the statue.
The image I saw was of Mary as a young woman among us. An everyday smiling young woman living her life in our day, in our community. As I looked I thought of the extraordinary things ordinary people, women and men, are doing in our community, in our day. People are showing acts of kindness, working in hospitals and care homes to help others live, doing everyday menial tasks to help and support their families, friends and neighbours. Love, saying ‘Yes’ to life, is all around us in these troubled days. Some women, in particular, are working and living in situations of great self sacrifice – caring for children and relatives and working too – often working for lower wages than men.
A US Muslim poet wrote a meditation on Mary:
Today I saw Mary as an ordinary young woman among us. I saw Mary as a young woman who said Yes to God, and did the wonderfully everyday work of making God’s love and life real in our world. To her I light a candle.