I was praying the office of matins for the feast of the Maternity of Mary last night, and had one of those “moments”…it left me lost in thought for a minute. It was simply an image, really, but there was a concept, too.
You know how we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit “overshadowing” Mary; well, I saw that in my mind’s eye, only differently than I have pictured it before. I saw it in connection with God’s will for Mary, and in connection with the Son of God passing through the walls of His Mother’s womb into the world, without causing any rupture of pain to her. It was all of a piece – God’s essence surrounding and engulfing Mary’s essence, and then Jesus, in essence and in physical “reality” appearing in human form as a newborn baby.
Well, it’s hard to explain.
I guess the change in my personal imagery of it comes from that idea of Jesus passing through the wall of Mary’s virginity in a miraculous way that caused her no physical pain and no rupture or distortion of her virginity. I never thought about that before, or knew what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church taught about it until I read in on the blog of a priest, Fr. Ryan Erlenbush (“The New Theological Movement”).
That description of the nativity of Jesus just astounds me. It makes so much sense. Fr. Erlenbush related it to the later appearance of the resurrected Jesus in the Upper Room, when all the doors were locked. I think it is just simply awe-inspiring. Which I guess is what it’s supposed to be!
But the miraculous nature of the Nativity of Jesus was extended, for me, to my image of the miraculous conception. I just saw it differently; I can’t really say it any differently than I did above. It was a merging, a uniting, an engulfing…but it was so much more than that.
I thank God for moments like that. Generally, I can’t explain them very articulately to others, but somewhere in my soul, I know that God has given me some new insight (new to me, I mean), and that I am changed by it.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.