Wishing everyone a happy, productive, and peaceful 2018. My resolutions will probably last as long as the evening. But I am confident my prayers for a better world and a year full of friends, family, art, and books will endure.
It is easy to forget that Easter so focused on the Son, is also about the Mother and in 20th century mystic and author Adrienne Von Speyr's brilliant work Handmaid of the Lord, Von Speyr examines the significance and importance of Mary's life: "Her first Yes to the angel, her first joy at conception, her first jubilation in Magnificat, are like a tiny human beginning compared with this storm of the Easter assent and this fire of the new Magnificat."
It is today on Easter, that Von Speyr reflects on the mission of Mary, after the death and ressurection of her Son, and her continuing importance in this central mystery of the Catholic faith.
"It is as if she were given a second Christmas. On Christmas she had received the Son: the long promise of Advent had found it's earthly fulfillment. But the little Child of Christmas was himself a promise, a bud of the coming redemption. Now, on Easter, this bud has blossomed and become full actuality. Today Mary is the Mother of the Redeemer. The end-point that has been reached is now the starting-point for all Christianity. Today she has become Mother in reality, and everything previous was only a preparation for this day. She sees before her the completed work of the Son, and she herself stands at its source. In the Spirit and through the Spirit she is the Mother. And at the Cross the Son made her share expressly in the birth of this work. Everything that at Christmas had been earthly, corporeal spirituality has today become a spiritual reality and is therefore open and limitless and omnipresent: it is a "Eucharist."
"But the Mother is included in the Son's eucharistic form of existence. Her unity with the Son became so great that from now on the two can no longer be separated. Where the Son is essentially and truly present, the Mother cannot be missing. If it is really the flesh of the Lord that the Christian receives at the altar, then it is also the flesh which took form within the Mother and at whose disposal she placed everything that was hers. Because she said Yes to his Incarnation, she also says Yes to each new advent of the Lord into the world that occurs at the Consecration of every Holy Mass. "
Wishing those of the faith a Happy and Blessed Easter.
Art: PONTORMO 1525-28 Annunciazione della Vergine - (Detail) Church of Santa Felicita, Cappella Capponi Florence
My childhood Christmas experience was populated with these lovely vintage Swedish Christmas postcards. They are actually quite small -- too small to put into a US post, which is probably why my mother never sent them out. But she saved them from her childhood and so they became a part of mine. Every Christmas they would be unpacked with the box of ornaments, a neat stack of them of them like a deck of cards. I spent many hours enjoying the illustrations. Here is a sampling -- though you can see all of them in the Swedish Christmas Postcards Album here.
Moon, come down and come alone. I have to tell you all about Akechi’s wife. -- Bashō
Valentine's Day approaches -- but I think it more a holiday intended for young couples -- those still needing public rituals of affection to fuel their new love. But for those of us long married, it is different -- not that love doesn't still have rituals, but that they are of a different kind. Ordinary, daily, subtle. So how beautiful and exquisite is this reflection by Bashō, the itinerant poet-monk of 17th century Japan, on the love between two people whose relationship is wide and deep -- quietly full of intimate gestures.
"So worn out, not even sure I was on the right road, I forgot myself awhile watching in weary amazement as his wife came and went, the two of them giving the impression of having long perfected some grave and complex dance known only to them, one of accord and the affection of two people moving hand-in-hand in the same direction, both possessed by desire while knowing themselves to be the source of that desire." Bashō, translated by Franz Wright.
Midori Snyder is the author of nine novels for children and adults. She won the Mythopoeic Award for The Innamorati, a novel inspired by early Roman myth and the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte" tradition. more>>