Satanding by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. – John 19.25 – 27
Recently, I visited St. James Cathedral in downtown Seattle for Sunday morning Mass. I was drawn to the Mary chapel in a nook on the northeast portico of the cathedral. I sat as close as I could to the entrance, so I could look in the chapel during Mass. This is what I saw:
The ceiling was at least forty feet high, painted midnight blue, and punctured with holes in the pattern of two star constellations – Virgo and Ursa Major – holes that let the golden light through.
The candles were long, golden beeswax tapers, inserted into thin bronze holders, attached to the walls, and rising to at least eight feet off the floor. The sensation of standing amidst the burning lights was literately radiant. After service, I entered into the chapel and knelt at the Mary statue, and lit a candle for my sister, a young mother of two daughters. My sister is also experiencing great suffering and sorrow in life right now. And also for all those suffering in the wake of hurricane Harvey and Irma.
Today’s lectionary reading inspires me to keep joining the Beloved Disciple John in “taking Mary into my home.” I have done this in my physical home in my meditation room. There, I have an icon of the Mother and underneath the icon, a candle, which I light when I offer remembrances for others.
My heart is also a type of home into which I take Mary. Mary represents the personal care and love of God for humankind – and our earth. These practices are not something I can explain. They are devotional in nature – and as such fall in the category of love, which has an experiential logic and poetry of its own.
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