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"On Emptiness and Empty-nest"
I'm thinking about the Virgin Mary especially today. I'm thinking about how she might have felt nine months ago when her womb was empty. I doubt she "felt" empty since she was engaged to be married to a strong man by the name of Joseph. She was preparing for her wedding! She was preparing her heart for moving from her home to his. She was preparing herself for the marriage bed. There was so much to think about! When suddenly . . . now that's an exciting word . . . Suddenly! Gabriel -- an Angel from God -- stood before her. You know the rest of the story.
Just that quickly Mary's entire life changed. Was she to drop the wedding preparations? What was she to tell Joseph? What would she tell her parents? And then her friends and the entire village? Early that morning her empty womb had been full of anticipation. One day she would have a family! But now, suddenly, it was no longer empty.
She couldn't see the Christ Child, but He was filling her. Her womb would soon be too small to contain Him. No longer could He grow in her womb, beside her heart. He would be birthed, and the cord cut. Mary could now see Him! Strange. He was now closer to her than when he was inside her womb. She nursed Him. Later He nourished her.
It wouldn't be many years before this whole world could not contain Him! He burst through the pangs of death. Victory over the tomb! (Is there something about the womb that speaks of a tomb?)
We give birth with wrenching pain as the womb empties. We see our own precious babe for the first time! Closer than when they were beside the heart. In our arms we nurse and feed. Later they "feed" us until we overflow with joy and often sorrow. And they leave our nest empty. But is it really "empty" or is it full of memories and anticipation. We can anticipate now the Christ Child being formed in us by "dying to ourselves" and saying "Yes, Lord! No matter what it takes, form Christ in ME!"
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