As I poke about in the realm of miracles, realizing that it’s an amazingly broad while underwritten subject, I’m torn between delving into miracles of healing and miracles of creation. So I finally decided to divide them up and do two posts, this one being, oh, well, you already know what this one is on.
It’s easy to settle on this one because it is that time of year when we can snuggle down somewhere soft and warm and gaze upon the image of a pregnant Mary. A simple girl who was confronted with the most amazing proposition by God.
Bear my child, will you?
One major problem with Mary, for us, I think, is that we look at her and say, well, that was her situation then, I’ll never be in that kind of situation with God.
Now we might wipe our brows and think, thank goodness for that; or we might sigh and wonder what it would be like to conceive the seeds and ultimately bear a miracle of God into the world.
But, as day-to-day, very modern Millies and (insert whatever the male version of Millies is here), we don’t see those capabilities in ourselves.
And yet they’re there. All of us have the ability not only to have a personal and up-close relationship with God, we have the ability to cooperate with God to the level of bringing into reality something that would not be in our lives naturally.
To prove this, think of Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa. Both took on work assigned to them by God and overthrew the natural order of things in their world by accomplishing his work.
It is said that in order to feed and house those she cared for, Mother Teresa performed a miracle every day.
That’s a lot of miracles.
Similar things are said of Francis, also.
So are these people that much different than the rest of us? Probably, to some degree. But, not, I think, to a degree that we can’t be like them more and more every day if we know where to look for ways of changing ourselves.
The key, I think, is in the saying of, yes.
It’s all Mary did, after all.
And the power of God was hers.
In the end, there was nothing special about Mary except her tenacity to say, yes.
I realize that this has been said many times, but I’m not taking this saying, yes, lightly or casually.
Saying, yes, is a most significant and sometimes most difficult thing to do.
When I had my call vision, at age 17, when I was told, it’s time to come do you work, I said, no. It’s wasn’t that hard to do, to say, no. And there were no loud or obvious consequences, no striking of lightning, no roaring storm to sound disagreement. It was all very quiet.
But not that long afterwards, I found it in myself to say, well, life as a mystic is somewhat more interesting than life as not a mystic. And eventually I found my way back to my visions, and my life proceeded as though there had been no interruption.
And I can’t say that I lost anything by saying, no. I gained the perspective and understanding of choice: that we are, truly, free to choose into or out of an active relationship with God.
Sometimes I think that is one of our major problems: once we opt out, we may get stuck in the thought that we can’t get back in ourselves.
But, yes we can, and that’s another story altogether.
Years and years went by. My life became “normal,” ordinary, quiet human being on one hand, wild and crazy visionary on the other. Well, the visions could be wild and crazy.
A mystical Clark Kent, as it were, except with no superpowers that gave me the ability to do much of anything out of the ordinary. I even cry every time I chop an onion. (You’d think, wouldn’t you, that one such wonderful capability would come along with the spiritual gifts, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you? A free grace, included in the package. But, no.)
And then, one day, I had a very powerful, and very quiet, vision. It went against everything that I am as a person on Earth. Not that it demanded disrespect, discourtesy, or ingratitude from me. It didn’t make me do anything that was against my religion, as it were, or against anything that was real.
It just wasn’t me.
So I said, no.
Actually, I sobbed and ranted, and fumed and plead, and reasoned (oh, how did I reason) and sobbed some more and. . . . Well, you get the picture.
And I said, no. For five straight years, I said, no.
And then there was silence.
Which I quite liked.
Perhaps, I told myself, it’s gone away.
I’m out from under.
Why, of all people on Earth, would I not know better?
Because, where God is concerned, I’m always wrong.
And then the command came back.
And this time, my saying, no, did not go without notice. It was not accepted quietly. It was my path and my not saying, yes, caused, for all concerned, quite a kerfuffle.
A mess. A huge stinking mess.
More years went by, and again I soothed myself with, it’s all gone away now.
Wrong, yet again.
It came back, with all the force of a hurricane. Except it was locked inside me, and I had nowhere to go to protect myself from the wind. No way to block the windows of my soul from the force. It was here, and was here with it.
And, finally, after being nudged every time I turned around with quips about how life goes much better when you say, yes, to God (thank you, Francis), and turning every page to find yet another prayer about my willingness to follow the path God has set out for me, I said, yes.
And now comes the painful reality of truly learning what the consequences are of saying, no, to my life has been. It means having to reconstruct something that I may have destroyed.
Only I have no idea how to do this.
It means getting down on my knees every night to pull myself through the prayers of forgiveness and remorse.
This I know how to do. I’m actually really good at it.
And it means coming to the act of creating with God battered and torn by my resistance. The prodigal daughter surrenders to her misery.
And so now I get to think about Mary. And Francis. And Teresa. And wonder what their lives would have been like if they had said, no. How miserable would they have been? With their misery coming not from the challenge of their lives, but from the lack of that challenge.
The lack of wonder they must have not experienced every day as their hands passed over barren land and turned it into full bloom.
The lack of awe that must accompanied their every breath as they did not contemplate the majesty of God, and his gentle grace at including them in his work.
So, look down at your feet one of these days. Do you see a mess there? Consider that it’s there because there is an outstanding, yes, you owe God.
And get on with it.
If you can.