Scribbles, &c.

Finding a way to the mother

Perseverance in faith even on Calvary – this was Mary’s inimitable greatness. And literally, every step the Lord took towards fulfillment of his godly destiny Mary followed – in bare faith. Comprehension came only with Pentecost. Then she understood all that she had so long reverently stored in her heart. It is this heroic faith which places her irrevocably at Christ’s side in the work of redemption, not the miracles of Marianic legend. Legend may delight us with deep and gracious images, but we cannot build our lives on imagery, least of all when the very foundations of our faith begin to totter. What is demanded of us, as of her, is a constant wrestling in fide with the mystery of God and with the evil resistance of the world. Our obligation is not delightful poetry but granite faith – more than ever in this age of absolutes in which the mitigating spell is falling from all things and naked opposites clash everywhere. \ — Romano Guardini, The Lord

Granite faith, not poetic image. Here are words for someone who has struggled with Marian devotions in the past. So deeply venerated, she has become nearly superhuman, distant, untouchable, almost unknowable. I have held this sort of piety at arms length for a long time, unwilling to close a door but unable to find a way to her through the apparitions, visions, prophecies, and thousand-fold promises of This Devotion or That One.

Digging past all of this, the elemental faith which followed her fiat - uncomprehending, internal, unshaken. Something in this view resonates deeply and authentically with me. To learn that she held things in her heart, maybe silently, pondering them for many years and struggling with them until the end is to discover a path through the bewildering cloud of Marian devotions.

She trusted, though she did not understand. Time and time again, the sword pierces her - yet she follows in faith all the way to the foot of the cross. What must have passed through her mind afterward, on Holy Saturday? Was she trusting still, but numb? Joy beyond reckoning awaits on Easter Sunday, but up until that point? I imagine her, turning over the events of his life in her mind, recalling the Annunciation, drawing a breath and holding on to the faith - even in the midst of the silent darkness following the death of her son - that Something Wonderful was yet to happen. Exactly what, perhaps she was unsure.

This is granite, not roses and lilies which pass in a day.