Day 15: How Mary Loved
Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for Pope St. John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press On our first international trip in almost 2 years, I took a beautiful walk with my dear Lithuanian friend in downtown Kaunas. Forsaking lunch, we found a much deeper meal in the beautiful gift of 'same gender friendship' that we speak of in Chapter 15 of Living Waters. We marvel at the gift of our God-given friendship—forged in too-brief visits over many years and miles, through prayerful words of encouragement.
Venta is an incredibly bright woman. She finished her doctorate last year, actively practices as a physician, is a mother of 3 blessed high need children, and contributes to the Living Waters stream in Lithuania. She amazes me! But as a sister in the Lord, Venta is a generous feminine presence who ministers to me deeply.
She reminds me of Mary’s generous love for her Son, and for us who inherit the blessing of her love. Through Christ, we too receive Jesus’ gift of Mary as a mother (John 19:26); we too can receive the graces of her feminine heart.
In an email exchange after our visit, Venta wrote words that embodied this ‘Marian heart’—deeply empathic and intuitive, strong and exhortative, life-giving! She helps envision my own womanhood as only an integrated woman can. She partners with Jesus and calls me to suffer well in my need; she exhorts me to live vulnerably before the Lord.
Venta wrote with maternal tenderness words that I, and perhaps many of us, need to hear:
In the places of your pain, you remain faithful to Him—as much as your new self can. Day by day, more with the years, He shares how this melts His heart. It is as if He is literally crying out with joy as you stay faithful to Him, suffering for His sake to stay faithful. He is honoring this…giving a crown of specific honor, glory and dignity because of your 'yes' to Him. This glory will stay with you forever wherever you go; it will strengthen you in your ministry and in your simple life relationships. With joy, He gives you this as your inheritance in Him: 'No more shame, just glory!'
Jesus…Mary…Venta… their hearts comingle as they bring forth generative words to my soul. TOB honors this gift of woman. Mary embodies it. We can all emulate and receive from this gift. St. John Paul II speaks of the mystery of femininity [which] manifests and reveals itself in its full depth through motherhood' (TOB 21:2). We need ‘living water’ from deep feminine wells. We need her tender generous encouragement to surrender and live faithfully before the Lord and others. ‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’