by Sr. Chiara Laura Serboli, OSC, Abbess Monastery of Camerino.
Peace and Goodness!
Here we are, once again, to walk together with you in the footsteps of the life and faith of Mary – to find in her that light of eternal wisdom. This time we dare enter inside her heart – that of a woman in love. Perhaps this is a stronger term – one that seeks all our commonality as members of one humanity thirsting for love.
Io ti amo. Te quiero. Je t’aime. I love you: different languages to express the same tender sentiment, recalling an encounter that changes one’s existence – both ancient yet always new. Such a phrase shakes the soul of every human being who opens him/herself up to the mystery of life. Certainly Mary would have experimented this splendid season, made of stupendous things – tears, doubts, tenderness, and trepidation, as a vase under the hands of the potter, asking oneself in the hope of understanding his coming.
But Mary was able to reconcile her raptures in God with her passion for things of the earth. She was able to immerge herself completely in praise as in that Psalm: “Oh God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting, as a dry weary land without water,” to make hers the words the Canticle, singing: “My delight is for and I am for him…”.
For Mary, a unified woman, it was natural to unite these two beautiful experiences – which in apparent contradiction instead unite one to the other in the free profundity of her “Yes.” Every joy, every human love, Mary teaches us, find their root and ultimate reason in God. If lived in him and in his Truth, there can never be conflict among them.
Saint Mary, woman in love, burning with an inextinguishable love, often we have erred in your humanity. We considered you capable only of flames that rise up towards Heaven. For fear of contaminating you with the things of the world, we excluded you from the experience of the small sparks down here below. You, however, raging fire of charity for the Creator, are also our teacher of how creatures love one another. Help us, therefore, reunite the absurd disassociations with which, regarding love, we judge to be separate: one for Heaven, the other for Earth.
Help us understand that love is always holy, because its originates in the one fire of God. But help us to also understand that with that same fire, in addition to burning lanterns of joy, we have the sad potentiality of burning the Earth with the most beautiful things of life.
For this, Saint Mary, woman in love, you who, as the liturgy sings, are the “Mother of beautiful love”, gather us into your school. Teach us to love. It is a difficult art that one learns slowly. Because it deals with re-igniting the coals of the heart without extinguishing them, and freeing them of the ashes of the fires of straw.
To love, synonymous with dying, means to de-center oneself. Move out of oneself. Give without asking. To be discreet to the limit of silence. Suffer to shed the skin of egotism. Remove oneself from the middle when there is a risk of compromising peace. Desire the happiness of the other. Respect destiny. And disappear when one realizes he is compromising the mission.
Saint Mary, woman in love, to whom the Lord said: “All my fountains are in you”, help us to perceive that love is always the underground source of those unexpected sparks of happiness that, in some moments of life, carry to us the spirit, reconcile us with the things of the world, and give us the joy of living.