Sunday, March 26, 2006

The de-iconization of the Blessed Virgin Mary in my life

Happy 4th Sunday of Lent!

Someone bought a copy of the book Woman Wrapped in Silence by John W. Lynch from my bookstore, the Pious Ladies Bookmobile. As it happens, I have two copies of that book in stock. Curious, I took a look at the book as I got it down to sell. This is a long narrative poem about the Mother of God.

Even before my grandson Owen's birth, I had been trying to understand Mary as more than an iconic figure. Through the centuries, saints have written about the Our Lady as a personal friend and beloved mother; and then of course the Marian doctrines proclaim a powerful theological understanding of Mary as a model for Christian discipleship, a type of the Church, the new Eve to Christ's new Adam, and the Theotokos or God-bearer not just in her historical role but in the realm of the spirit, here and now.

But for me she has always been elusive, an icon rather than a personal saint to whom I could relate as I can to folks like St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare, Kateri Tekakwitha, even St. Jane de Chantal as strange as her odyssey was.

I had told St. Lorraine of my difficulties, when she was preparing a talk on Mary for the Pauline Cooperators retreat and asked if there was any aspect of Mary I particularly wanted to learn more about. I did not get a chance to go to the retreat, because of the situation with Owen, so I didn't get to hear Sr. Lorraine although she confessed that she too struggled to understand the Blessed Virgin as a person rather than an icon.

This book, A Woman Wrapped in Silence, is the answer to a prayer. Beautiful narrative poetry is wonderful to discover and read. Beautiful narrative poetry with a subject so dear to Catholic faith is a pearl of great value. I am loving it.

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