Sunday, June 17, 2007

Close to Her Heart: Gone to the Cistercians, and our Blessed Mother

I took part of Friday and Saturday to go visit my brothers at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank near Sparta, Wisconsin. We celebrated the Immaculate Heart of Mary together.

I was struck by a single phrase in the Gospel reading for yesterday. At the end of the episode of finding Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-51), it is said of Mary "she pondered these things in her heart."

Here is a wonderful commentary on that pondering from a fellow Cistercian, Saint Amedeus of Lausanne (1108-1159), Cistercian monk, then Bishop. The warmth of feeling for our Blessed Mother is one of the things drawing me to the Cistercians. You can see that warmth here.

Homily on Mary, 4

"Often, it seems to us, Mary forgot to eat and to drink, keeping vigil in order to think about Christ, to see Christ in his flesh. She burned with love of him and passionately loved to serve him. She often did what the Song of Songs sings about: “I was sleeping, but my heart kept vigil.” (Song 5:2) Even when she was resting, she continued to dream of him who filled her thoughts throughout the day. Whether she was keeping vigil or resting in peace, she always lived in him, was always occupied with him.

Where her treasure was, there also was her heart (Mt 6:21); where her glory was, there also was her mind. She loved her Lord and her Son with all her heart, with all her mind, with all her strength (Mt 22:37). She saw with her eyes, touched with her hands the Word of Life (1 Jn 1:1).

How blessed was Mary, to whom it was given to embrace him who embraces and nourishes everything! How happy was she who carried him who carries the universe (Heb 1:3), she who nursed a Son who gives her life, a Son who nourishes her and all beings on earth (Ps 145:15).

The one who is the wisdom of the Father put his arms around her neck, the one who is the strength that gives movement to everything sat on her arms. He who is the rest of souls (Mt 11:29) rested on her motherly breast. How gently he held her in his hands, peacefully looked at her, he whom the angels wish to contemplate (1 Pet 1:12), and he gently called her, he whom every being calls upon when in need.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, she held him close to her heart… She never had enough of seeing him or of hearing him, whom “many prophets and kings wished to see… but did not see.” (Lk 10:24) Thus Mary grew ever more in love, and her mind was unceasingly attached to divine contemplation."


Don Marco, O.Cist. said...

Splendid. Thank you.

Phil B. said...

You're welcome. Is there a pithy Latin phrase that means "If there's anything good here, it comes from above." If so, I'd insert that phrase here!