Continuing with my study of Keith Fournier’s book, The Prayer of Mary, and Genevieve Kineke’s book, The Authentic Catholic Woman, I look at the issue of holiness, briefly touched upon in my last post.
In Chapter One of Fournier’s book, “A Way of Holiness,” he states that Mary’s “yes” signified that she was totally open and receptive to God. This is holiness, a total act of selflessness. The fiat, or “yes” opens the way to conversion and authentic spirituality because we grow closer to God and touch Him. When we lose ourselves to God, we find ourselves again, the true selves that were lost because of the Fall of Adam and Eve (pages 4 and 5, The Prayer of Mary).
This total surrender is not easy! Mary’s yes changed her life significantly and exposed to her to danger, both physical and emotional. She would have to totally trust God in order to be that open. She must have had the heart of a child, for young children trust their parents so instinctively, reaching out to them for love and protection.
The spiritual life is not about power but powerlessness; not about increasing but decreasing; not about becoming greater, but becoming smaller. John the Baptist said it to Jesus: “I must decrease so you can increase.” I think of a song by Fr. David Hemann called Climbing Down to Greatness-Magnificat (Humility) (click on the link to listen) where he sings, “Climbing down to greatness, the smaller you are, the higher you soar.”
True beauty lies here, and it must show somehow. Have you ever met someone who seemed to glow with goodness? A new real estate agent has joined our office and instantly I thought she glowed with goodness. She is caring, consoling, gentle and very open. She shares her faith, so well integrated into her life, as easily as she breathes. She’s someone I want to be with. She is beautiful. I imagine Mary was like that too.
It is said that the light one sees in icons is not natural light falling on the image but a supernatural light emulating from the image. You will notice on icons that there are no shadows, and that they seem to glow with gold color. The face especially is bathed in light, coming from within. Icons are written in a specific way using an ancient method of prayer, scripture, special techniques and materials. The light is purposely shown to come from within. The icon becomes a compelling message of spiritual truth. I feel like I can see the soul of the person being depicted, and I hear God’s voice speaking to me. Icons are beautiful.
We are icons too, created in the image of the living God. Do we allow the light of God to shine through us the way it shines through an icon, through a friend, through the Blessed Mother?
Copyright 2011 Susan Bailey