"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
On the eve of the Immaculate Conception I can't help but be distracted by Mary's Otherness. To be born sinless in a world where man is united by sin and death, to be always on the outside - looking in on the about-to-be-redeemed. It has the unshakeable feel of Solitude.
For many years, I felt as though Mary was too Other for me. Too much a saint, no sinner at all to attract me with past misdeeds. I had trouble with her western images, sweet-faced and sappy, no hard edges at all. Only the Perpetual Help icon seemed alive to me, and she was frightening because her eyes seemed to see too deeply. It is the Icon Mary I have grown to love now, her deep-seeing eyes that follow me, her wise sorrow that knows too much of the loss of mankind. I surround myself with her: Perpetual Help, Burning Bush, Theotokos. It is her Otherness that draws me now as much as anything, her creative solitude which allowed her to produce Christ, and I rejoice in the images that show her clothed in quiet power.
Tomorrow, on her feast, I would like to make of our little nest a great rejoicing. I would like flowers, baked brie, and bright candles to make the Immaculate laugh and enter more deeply into our blessed home.