Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Marian "Yes"

What the Cistercian monk, Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby, said this morning on his Vultus Christi weblog that inspires me to share a Christmas greeting touching on matters very close to the heart.

Dom Marco wrote:
One does not approach the Virgin of the Annunciation without discovering the Mother of Sorrows. The joyful “Yes” to Love conceived beneath the Virgin’s heart flowers into the sorrowful “Yes” to Love crucified, and the glorious “Yes” to Love risen from the tomb.
I have tried to use this weblog to further the objectives of the Cornerstone Forum, my exultations over the recent birth of my new granddaughter and a rare mention of more personal matters to the contrary notwithstanding. Though I have managed to post to the blog fairly regularly, I have usually done so by hastily composing a few thoughts in the wee hours of the morning, for, as some know, my beloved wife Liz is suffering from a brain tumor and is in need of regular care and attention.

So serious is Liz's health condition that any Christmas greeting from me that failed to acknowledge it would be unacceptably impersonal. So I hope it will not be thought maudlin or inappropriate to the sentiments usually associated with Christmas for me to interrupt the regular weblog postings to share a Christmas greeting that bespeaks the realities with which Liz and I are now confronted.

To return to Dom Marco's observation, what connects the Virgin of the Annunciation and the Mother of Sorrows is what Christ spoke of as being "handed over," something that, for a Christian, has nothing whatsoever to do with stoic resignation. The one being "handed over" can, as Christ did, pray fervently to be spared the cup of suffering and death, while at the same time subordinating one's heartfelt petition to the will of God. It is in this spirit that Liz and I are living this Advent season, awaiting Christ.

Be it done unto me according to your word.

We, too, have a role in the Christmas story.

Preparing a place in our crowded lives
for the inbreaking of Christ.

It begins with Advent:
with patience, with waiting,

with practicing the presence of God.

With Warmest Christmas Wishes,
from Liz and Gil Bailie

A few years ago, a friend gave Liz a reproduction of the painting of the woman at prayer. It captures the Marian spirit quite well and the Elizabethan spirit perfectly. It seemed the most appropriate image for this year's Christmas and Advent greeting.

Thank you for keeping Liz in your prayers.


Anonymous said...

The thoughts and prayers of all whom you have touched are with you and Liz. Know of my personal gratitude for you and how much you have illumined my life and the life of my parish. God Bless.
Fr. Mario, St. Cyril of Alexandria
Houston, TX

Vonn Hartung said...

Dear Gil and Liz,
Greetings to you and all your family and congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter.

Like Mary and Joseph you keep our Divine King in your loving protection from wolves and Herod's never-ending mercenaries.
Like the Wise Men, your forebears, you do not turn away, concluding there must be an astrological miscalculation when it seems you've found only a stable and a humble family surrounded by evidential poverty.
You've sojourned far and are surely tired, but again like your forebears of long ago, you have arrived.
Your gifts of love, faith, courage and intellect shine and will continue to shine His light in the darkness, the darkness of ignorance, hatred, injustice and violence that lusts after all our souls.
Our prayer this Christmas and for all time is that the light of Christ Jesus, Mother Mary, all the Apostles and Saints down through His church, (the same light you and Liz have lit for so many of us) may continue to illuminate our path in the new millenium.
God bless you both.

In love and peace at Christmas,
Your friends in Puerto Rico,
Vonn and Patty Hartung