Thursday, May 5, 2016

Christmas and Pentecost, Springing from the Womb

I came across this, posted originally in 2009, when I was looking for Pentecost related materials. (Yes, I use my own blog the way others do.) Anyway, this was a lovely thing to think about and I thought y'all might like it too as we approach Pentecost.
Nine days before Pentecost Mary, the apostles, and disciples gathered in prayer for the coming of the Spirit. Art always pictures Mary, the mother of Jesus, as seated in the center of this holy gathering. The setting is one of prayer and contemplation. Mary is the principal contemplative, the woman wrapped in the silence of prayer. The contemplative dimension, with Mary at the center, prevailed.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on those gathered in the Upper Room. The Spirit manifested and revealed the Church publicly. Now Peter became the visible leader, the Shepherd and Pastor and Rock. Pope John Paul II, reflecting on these scenes, taught that the Marian dimension of the Church precedes the Petrine one. The environment of prayer is the womb from which the Body of Christ is born. Because of this, prayer, contemplation, and the adoration of God have the primacy in the Church.
Reading this, my focus was brought to the word "womb" as a description of the Upper Room. Never having had considered this imagery before, I couldn't let it go. Inevitably, perhaps, with the images of Mary and womb before me, I also began to think about the parallels between Pentecost and Christmas. Both were preceded by an enforced period of waiting, with Mary as a central figure, with a previously unimaginable power and light being unleashed on the world as the climax.

It made me suddenly look at Christ's coming anew, at how that tiny baby held power and light that we still have a hard time comprehending, made me have just a bit more understanding of how he flashed on the world like a fire. Likewise I looked at the Upper Room anew, seeing it truly as the womb which sheltered and fed the apostles despite their lack of comprehension at what they were being prepared to become.

This probably is nothing new, but it surely was for me. It set forth a direct connection between the two which I will always think about when either Christmas or Pentecost comes to mind. All facilitated by Mary's willingness. Which is something else to consider. Especially in connection with myself. No big conclusions here ... just pondering and turning over these points.

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