This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.
What a multitude of miracles we may have missed throughout our lives, filled as we are, with good reasons for doing or not doing. There is a certain elegance about those lines, “had Mary been filled with reason” that strike at the core of our human experience. We want to know, to make order and sense, to tidy the world into boxes that will not tumble or fall. In an effort to stay safe in the familiar, we populate our inner life with shoulds, oughts and musts, or, in some cases, must nots.
This is all true. Yet there is a deeper wisdom to be gleaned from these words. Had Mary been filled with reason, that is, filled with the conscious effort to order the world, there would not have been space for Logos, the ordering spirit of the divine. That is a powerful image for those of us who seek to understand the movements of the holy in our lives. And by the holy, I am not speaking of the gods and goddesses we have named that clothe the ineffable, but of the numinous mystery itself.
I am reminded of the statue of Shiva Nataraja, the Hindu Lord of the Dance, dancing on the back of a supine human. All along, we are looking at our human concerns, belly button gazing at the lint of life lived small, when above us, around us, dances the divine magnificent presence. When we fill our minds with the effort to understand what is not explicable, we close off the opportunity to experience the miracle of being awakened to a new state of awareness. The reason is simple: we are terrified of taking up the mandate of what the holy calls us to become.
It wasn’t easy for a young woman to submit her will to that of the unknowable, to risk being transformed from an adolescent into a woman who would bear the burden of birthing a life destined to death. Forget the resurrection, at that moment of saying yes to the irrational, the unreasonable, she was saying yes to the process of being transformed, broken and broken open. Madonna and Mater Dolorosa, Virgin and Weeping Mother, what immeasurable joy and suffering are there contained!
There are a million reasons to deny the call of the holy, of our unique destinies-loss of family, reputation, safety, loss of our familiar and comforting spot in the world. There is no good reason to submit to the mystery that would ask the world of us, take it away and then give it back transformed. Except that, to follow reason only robs us of the unique gift living our lives imbued with the Spirit of our lives. So much more can be said about Mary, about this poem, about the masculine and feminine worlds. But for now, hush, listen and perhaps the lily will bend to your ear and whisper the words meant only for you.
Dr. Silvia Behrend is a Certified Pattern Analyst, educator and mentor