What Good Is It?

What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son
takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself?
What good is it to me if Mary is full of grace
And if I am not also full of grace?
What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his/her Son
If I do not also give birth to him
In my time and my culture?
Meister Eckhart

But Mary treasured all these words
and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

My almost four-year-old granddaughter tells me she is afraid of loud noises.
“Which ones,” I ask.
“Thunder” she responds.  I reassure her, probably foolishly, that in winter we have snow storms but not thunder.

Last spring an old tree across from their house came down, bringing with it two large concrete hydro poles, with part of the tree landing on the neighbour’s car.  The power lines lay across their property rather than keeping the lights on inside.  Her mother had just come up the front walk.

In the night during at least two of the loud thunder and lightning storms last summer, I lay awake in tears.  Not because I don’t like loud noises.  I was afraid for my grandchildren, and yours, or your future grandchildren, and theirs. What kind of environment are we are leaving them?  Individually and collectively we do not seem to have the will to do the hard things necessary to ensure the comfortable survival of humans on the planet.  I do what I can; ride my bike, limit unnecessary purchases, recycle.  But I also love to travel and I know that air travel is a big polluter.

Mary “pondered” these things “in her heart.”  She probably did not want to say “yes” to the request to birth “the Christ”.  What does it mean for me, for you, to birth the Holy in our time and place?  Can Mary’s “yes” be my “yes?”  That is the invitation at the heart of the ancient story.

I’m listening to the hopeful energy of our young people – the numerous “Christ” children already born into what I pray will be a world able to support their lives.  And I’m going to start buying carbon offsets for my flying habit.

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