Chapter Talk – Christmas – December 24, 2020
Our ‘yes’ uttered once again: not hesitatingly, not with being able to see what it would ask of us, this ‘yes’ uttered fully with every ounce of love and faith we could muster, following the pattern of her first ‘yes’. Mary’s ‘virginal yes’, uttered into eternity, a first, pure, whole in its heart’s intention, uttered in response to God’s never before invitation, an invitation to birth forth his Son. This encounter, a breaking open in history: God’s invitation and the human response. This never before encounter ripples through and beyond time, it has now become our encounter: the Divine invitation and our response. Doubts, fears, anxieties recede before the power of our ‘yes’, a ‘yes’ that is in response to being overshadowed by the Spirit, Christ’s Spirit that wants to become more flesh of our flesh, calling us to be more like him in attitude and behavior.
Listen to these words of Gabriel as expressed in a poem by Jan Richardson:
I wanted to save her
from what I had been sent
Yet when the time came,
when I had stammered
(history would not record
the sweat on my brow,
the pounding of my heart;
would not note
that I said
Do not be afraid
to myself as much as
it was she
who saved me—
her first deliverance—
her Let it be
not just declaration
to the Divine
but a word of solace,
Her ‘yes’, her ‘let it be’: has become our ‘solace’, our ‘soothing’, our ‘benediction’. The whole of Advent has been the context to attune us in heart and mind to the ‘overshadowing’ of God’s request, to God’s eternal request that will always hover over the shore of our lives….Our response follows her eternal response: ‘let it be to me according to your word’…let it be, all resistance falls away…let it be, ‘here I am, the servant of the Lord’, ready and trusting…let it be to me according to your word…With a resounding ‘yes’ we take the leap of faith and birth forth the new of God.
God’s promise of the gift of his Son is fulfilled through the ‘encounter’ with Mary: the Divine / human exchange, the invitation and her ‘yes’. There would be no Christmas without this first encounter…and now it continues through our lives, beginning with that very “tiny word” as Christine Rogers, the poet, has expressed it…
(Into the Great Green Heart of God, “Mary”, p.41)
The ‘great voice’ it takes to utter that ‘tiny word’ is not separate from God’s invitation; that great voice is able to be spoken because love and faith evoke it and open the heart wide, wider than before, our small horizon is made larger for this already is the fruit of our ‘yes’, our response, ‘let it be to me according to your word’….
We are now at the threshold of the Christmas event. The encounter has happened: the mutual exchange of invitation and response, of need, of the more that is needed…of God’s new life needing an incarnate vessel…and our ‘yes’ that opens us just enough to become that vessel. Let us now go forth attune to the inner stirrings, ready to live into the new of God that is being born within us and in our midst.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess
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