We are just walking each other home. -Rumi
Today, according to the Liturgical Calendar, is the Feast of the Visitation. It commemorates Mary’s visit to her older cousin, Elizabeth. Mary, unmarried, very young, is “visited” by an angel and God’s messenger asks her if she would be willing to be the mother of Jesus. Shortly thereafter, we hear that she has journeyed to “visit” Elizabeth, of whom the angel tells her that she is also pregnant. Elizabeth, married to Zachariah for a very long time, is very old – “beyond child bearing years” – is pregnant with John the Baptist. “Miracles of miracles, wonder of wonders”( lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof) – God has truly done marvels within these two grace-filled women. Sometimes I wonder if God had been watching “General Hospital” as to how this whole story unfolds with so much drama, unpredictability, and surprise in this “fullness of time.” Thus, when the women meet, they embrace and babies dance in the moment of encounter.
But today, I am pondering another “visitation” of sorts. A dear sister in my community is preparing to die. She is the one that has been chosen to pray for me over these past three years. We always have one of our retired sisters to be our special pray-er. God knows that we all need our own particular pray-er! However, my dear pray-er has now moved into a private room that offers her more comfort and the nurses have easier access to her. After her diagnosis in December 2015, she internally moved to another kind of room - to a deeper dimension becoming aware of what she was being asked to do, and how she was to be on this new path of her journey back home to God’s eternal and unconditional loving embrace.
Yesterday when I visited her, she was resting in bed. She was awake and alert. Other times not, and visitors sit in silence, read to her, or pray. When I found her eager to talk, she then shared how she is not able to remember what day it is. She is not able to remember or sense what time it is. And she can’t identify what time of the day it is by distinguishing her varied meals – that is, if they are breakfast, lunch, or a light evening meal. Everything in her reality is becoming less and less tangible in “chronos” time – that numeric time that measures past, present, and future. “A more modern definition of (chronos) time would be that is a temporal dimension of space-time with the physical universe moving through time in a single universe.” (Logan McCall)
This dear woman is now slowly and gently passing into “Kairos” time . . . a kind of divine time. It is that “appropriate time” of which the oceans know their ebb and flow; it is the time of the rising of the sun and its setting, it is the moon rising, it is the inner knowing when the child knows it is time to stretch beyond the womb space and be birthed into a new light and life, and it is the time of the seasons each knowing to take their place in the rhythms of the universe.
And so as we walk this dear woman home, she can rejoice in the words of
Mary’s Song. . .
“My soul proclaims the greatness of God;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for God has looked with favor on this lowly servant . . .
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is God's Name.
May you visit someone today or a place that is waiting for your presence, your smile, your song, your comfort, your love, your inner knowing of Divine time.
I close with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley, who reflects on today's Gospel (Lk. 1:39-56)
“Affirmed, loved and comforted,
You stayed with Elizabeth,
Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
of the older woman,
deepening in your own resolve
to nurture, hold
and mother God.
Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.
Your Yes dares us
to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
and to expect the breaking through of mystery
onto our bleak and level horizons.
The words you heard, Mary,
we will forever remember.
We will not be afraid,
for the life that you birthed
will not be extinguished
in our souls.
And the journey
you took in faithfulness,
we also take.
We the people, women and men, the midwives,
and the healers will also,
like you, Mary, our soul sister,
Give birth to God
for our world.”
|Italian Sculpture - San Giovanni Fuorcivitas - Pistoia - Visitation|