oh Mary, mother

Oh Mary, mother

of God, If God
is willing to come
into you
as a molecule,

if he will split
from one cell into two, two
into four, four into

if he will swim
like a tadpole in your young womb,

if he will wait
for legs and arms to grow, for fingers
to be un-webbed,

if he who can see everything will grow
eyes and eyelids and eyelashes in the silence
of your red prison
if the omnipotent in his infinite wisdom will subject himself

to this
to this

to this

Then what is it that he asks of me, Oh mother
of all?

Oh God,
of time and eternity

If you will wait like this,
enter space microscopically, and
subject yourself to the innate, unthinking order
so you may occupy
a scintilla of creation,
(all of which is held in you)

if you are patient enough
to wait years to be intelligible in human form,
if you are patient enough
to wait decades to begin your mission
if all of this is for our salvation

Then what of every moment that I rush through life,
what of each issue I force before it has come to term
what of each child that I push toward a visible articulation of a life before she is ready
what of each soul I judge prematurely.

Without this,
you are outside time, impatient in your impassibility
untouched by the confines of materiality
unmoved by the changes and chances of this fleeting world

Without this,
you are omniscient,
you are all powerful
you are deserving of our fear and honour.

But we cannot imagine that you love
our time
our space
our living
our dying
We cannot imagine that you love.

time has infinite meaning
space has transcendent value
process is replete with significance.

we know
we are loved

Because you wait as we must wait, patience is infinitely affirmed
because you grow as we must grow, the small and the invisible are infinitely powerful
because you develop as we must develop, the time for transformation can be infinitely trusted.

Oh Mary, Mother of God
as he worked his miracle within you,
as moment by moment breath-by-breath he made
Did you grasp the meaning in this?
Could you conceive
the power in his minuteness?
Did you know Him
as God while your fragile hand explored
the small lump of your belly?

When you felt the first flutter
of movement, that ambiguous almost
nothingness, did you understand that He
who fluttered there created
the universe and all that is in it with that same hand?
Did it teach you love?
Did it fashion your way of being?
Did your body learn
the way of God day by day and week
by week?

Oh Mary, take me into you

Slow me
with this

heavenly patience
of molecular making.


O Virgin of Virgins

Active labor has begun and she is quiet and focused. We who have been standing near, watching her cry, begging for her to go on, are overcome, it is what we long for but it is always too much, it is beyond our ken.

“O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after:”

And she looks at us through the glassy eyes of exhaustion and faith filled ecstasy.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.”


O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

It is the middle of the night, she is awake and alone, there is peace, all fear is washed away as she feels the baby move and ready himself for his appearance. The time has come, the first pangs of labour have begun, slow and soft. With every contraction she can sense his eagerness to be with the world he loves. Mary treasures this last moment alone with the alone. The life interior to her will soon clamber about in the world. Soon God’s joy in being God will diffuse itself and invite all humanity into itself; as he invited himself into her.

The bridegroom is coming out of his chamber rejoicing as a strong man to run a race.

Mary, inside you He quickens to meet the light. God is eager to be with you, with all creation. You who alone know the material God inside your flesh release him now, let him come to us. Let your body inaugurate salvation history as you enunciate the cry of all humanity.

“Come and save us, O Lord our God”



O King of Nations

O King of the Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.

In the noontime of history, this groan comes in the long line, as Mary and Joseph wait to be registered. Here there is anger, burgeoning conflict between the ruled and the oppressed, between the Jew and the Gentile. Mary feels her body tense as the room erupts in vitriolic words thrown back and forth in barely constrained whispers. A palpable undercurrent of violence permeates the space.

Mary is the vulnerability of all humanity as she stands great with child in the apex of the angry storm. She lays her hands on her belly and prays through her fingers: “O my child, King of the Nations, bind this brokenness, this fractured human family that has been since the beginning; Cain and Able struggling in the dust. Come, beat these swords into ploughshares, and these spears into pruning hooks, teach us something other than enmity.

Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.


O Day-Spring

O Day-Spring, Brightness of Light, everlasting and sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten him that sitteth in darkness, and the shadow of death.

Mary stands at the entrance of the stable to watch the rising sun transform the landscape, the stars are fading out but one remains bright. In a synesthesia of light and song she can hear its lucent harmony with the spheres. Every dissonance of darkness is on the cusp of resolution in the dawning light. All creation like an orchestra sounds the tuning pitch. Everything vibrates in acoustic understanding.

This is the end of the world and it’s beginning.

O Mary, you who know consonance with the melody of the Trinity, sing out a prayer for us who are still blind and deaf.

Come and enlighten him that sitteth in darkness, and the shadow of death.

O Key of David

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; that openest, and no man shuttests, and shuttest, and no man openeth: come and bring the prisoner out of the prison house, and him that sittest in darkness, and the shadow of death.

This groan comes as the inn door slams in her face and there is nowhere to rest. Mary leans her head against the door aching, keening; “Oh, how the world is locked to you my little one, like the door of this inn firmly shut and bolted with ferocity. My mysterious progeny, at this moment I can feel your body unlock my body to set you free and deliver me. How will this flesh of yours unlock all flesh for divinity. Already in my turning inward, in this fierce pain I fear the hammering blows that will shape you, the searching wounds that will cut you. And a sword pierces my heart.”

Oh Mary, we on the other side of history know it is the cross, that instrument of torture that will make the high pitched scream of the metal cutter and let off sparks, that will violently shape the key that will fit the lock to unlock the prison door; to open and heal all our hearts. We know what is to come, and still we beg you, cry!

 “Come and bring the prisoner out of the prison house and him that sittest in darkness, and the shadow of death!”

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

This prayer is offered on the road to Bethlehem, she is weary and weak, all around her are the poor, in transit at the whim of a ruler who cares nothing for the pain of her body or anyone else’s, a ruler who knows power and control, who knows violence and violation, but knows nothing of the need for shelter and rest and warmth.

Joseph takes her hand; he looks around and stares into her weary eyes, and says:

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days… And he shall stand and feed his flock …and he shall be the one of peace. [1]

“You are of the Root of Jesse, Mary, and you suffer to go to the place from which you come so that the one who comes may make way for us to go with him to the Father. He is our only hope for peace, eternal true peace that does transform this world. He is the only one who will shut the mouth of Kings and end these never ceasing wars between us, he is the only one that puts down the mighty from their seat and lifts up the lowly. He is the only one who has food for the poor that cannot be taken away. Only he holds the hope for the refugees that walk beside us, only he holds the hope for you for me. So cry, Mary cry!”

“Come and deliver us, and tarry not.”

[1] Micah 5 v2