Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member, Kevin Ruano, reflects on Mary’s ability to abandon reason and trust in the love of the Creator.
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.
—Madeleine L’Engle, “After the Annunciation”
Contemplating L’Engle’s poem, I am taken again and again by the one line: Had Mary been filled with reason. On the surface, it strikes me as if L’Engle suggests that Mary had no reason and, consequentially, could not think. If I were to believe such an idea, I would conclude that Mary could never act with complete agency. But instead, I reread and remember that what we celebrate is at the very core of L’Engle’s poem, Mary’s choice. L’Engle communicates that Mary did not let herself be satisfied by reason. Mary, mi morenita, chose love.
This liturgical season, Christians around the planet reflect and prepare for the coming of Christ. If we are to do so, following Mary’s example as described by L’Engle, we will choose to make room for Christ in our bodies, on our planet, and in our own home by choosing love. The love I invoke here is not the fleeting feeling but the intentional choice.
Christians know love—the very mystery of Jesus, the incarnated Christ—as that which subverted all human reason, as that which defies the very boundaries which are drawn by said rational people to divide our world.
Loving, the Creator chose to join, without any reservation, all of creation. Loving, the king of kings chose to be born to a family ostracized by its community, and revealed first to the most lowly of society, shepherds and animals. Loving, the living God came to Earth in flesh and blood to turn this world whose reason tells us too many times to accept it merely as it is on its head.
Mary, in her utter youth, chose to participate in the mystery of Christ’s love. I am convinced that the precise moment when God assumed life in its earthly form, the exact moment when God arrived to our world was the moment Mary did not accept the world as it was given to her and did not choose to let that world with all its reason affect her choice.
In the prime of my youth (please, feel free to call me naïve and unreasonable), L’Engle’s Mary is a Mother who profoundly understands my inner stirrings and my most intimate agitations when living in our contemporary world, that which is broken and divided; motivated by political rhetoric based in hate; organized by public servants who tolerate lies and disregard truth; accepted by our indifferent selves despite how threatening it has become for the beautifully diverse life of our very planet and those most marginalized in our societies.
I have been told by reasonable people in various moments of my youth that our world, as given to me, is how it will always be. If you find yourself unable to accept that statement, L’Engle leaves us with the image of Mary, an incredible guardian and the one I invite you to commune with in this prayer, in part taken from a Franciscan Blessing used often at FMS:
May God bless us with a foolishness like Mary’s to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done and we may choose love.
Reflection Question: In what ways can you turn to Mary this Advent to draw in closer to her son?