Madonna


I cradle her softly in my memory of Friday morning, as she stood bravely, silently, then spoke with a steady, even tone into the still room held captive. She was thirteen. Dark, dark, dark: her hair, her eyes, the teeming ripples of thought under her smooth, opaque surface as she brushed curls from her eyelashes and prepared to respond as the Truth that found her. Although she trembled, she gracefully gave in to the pull of power greater than herself and, in the surrender, spoke from a place of wide-eyed awareness, of keen and inconsolable connection to everything.

"She held these things and pondered them in her heart," the ancient book says. She received, and felt, and broke, and cried as her children hung on beams that ripped the fragile human fabric. She saw, she heard, she touched the scars and suffering, and let it all rush into the core of complacency's comfort. She was told she was to embody the divine nature of matter, and she, in her willing wonder, said "yes." Mary, who we call Mother of God, was probably about thirteen years old. 

This young woman who stood before me hears gunshots, sees drug deals, feels unkind words like pinches on the soul, knows the schisms between what is actual, what is real and what is true. She declares her life "indescribable," and in hearing in her witness the confusing clash of industry, violence, apathy and despair, you know it is so. The loss of what is precious pours from her being; each syllable screams that we have forgotten who we are meant to be. She looks at it all. She has made of herself a sacred vessel amid mundane terror, a voice of resistance to the wrong that met her with many faces of our world.

My soul glorifies the Divine,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
God looks on the lowliness of his servant;
henceforth, all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy is God's name!
There is mercy from age to age
on those who fear God,
God puts forth his arm in strength,
scattering the proud-hearted;
casts the mighty from their thrones,
raises the lowly, fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
God protects...his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to Sarah and Abraham 

and their descendents forever.

Her dark was rich and dimensional, glittering with sparks of something greater. In her wounded words glimmered the light of restoration. She closed by saying, "Someday, someone will care," and the way she carried those words to the ringing ears of those gathered suggested nothing less than that she was the one she had been waiting for, and still didn't know it. She stood vulnerably, emptied of the pain she held gingerly with fingers that stroked the wailing woe of isolation. She released the carelessness she could not control and chose to adorn herself in the strength of what she could: her willingness to receive. In holding it all, she was holding the world together for all of us. The stark, simple beauty of her love-act struck each of our hearts.