God so humbled
Enclosed in the womb of a poor young girl
Crying out, God, God, you are crazy!
And with enflamed desire
I go searching for who this young woman is
Who joined the Lover to the beloved
Looking at her from her head down to her feet
So the more I look at her the more she gives me delight
Pregnant in appearance
She shows me…
(adapted from a poem of Saint Catherine of Sienna)
Who Is This Woman?
The modern mystic Caryll Houselander expresses the sentiments of Many church-going folk with regard to Mary:
“When I was a little girl, I was told …, ‘Never do anything you cannot imagine our Lady doing … If you do, she will blush.’” From then on, preventing our Lady from blushing “became an obsession … since I could only imagine our Lady leaning on a cloud-bank or being a plaster statue.” Eventually, I “broke down and sobbed with boredom and despair … Such was the conception of our Lady imposed on me by a pious upbringing.” Sadly, it’s “a very common one – to many Catholics she is unreal, and even worse, unattractive …No wonder, for nearly all we are taught of her is … the pious guess-work of [the overly sentimental]” (Mother of Christ, p. 31).
Later in life, she heard a “remarkable nun” correcting a girl who believed Mary wouldn’t even have known about sex because of her “innocence” and “purity.” The nun exclaimed, “Stuff and nonsense! When our Lady was 15 she knew the facts of life from A to Z, the gospel proves it.” That began Caryll’s search “for the real Mother of God.” What she found was a woman “consumed by the fire of love,” a woman who “is not only human; she is humanity.” She is what it means to be human …