Mary the initiator

Monday, April 04, 2016

  Mary the initiator 

We celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation today, on April 4, because March 25 was Good Friday and we needed to celebrate it as part of Holy Week
If you've seen the movie The Ten commandments you may remember there's a long period when Charlton Heston- I mean Moses- stands at the Red Sea and holds up his staff.  And nothing happens. You imagine a lump is forming in the back of his throat, and you figure he's going to be sick if he can't pull this thing off.

This reminds me of a legend about the parting of the Red Sea. The rabbis say the water would not part until one man leaped in with the faith that it would part. That man's name, they say, was Nachshon, a son in-law to Aaron.  He walked into the sea until the waters went over his head. Then the miracle occurred, vindicating him-not to mention Moses. Today in Jewish circles, "to be a Nachshon" means to be the initiator.

We celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation today, on April 4, because March 25 was Good Friday and we need to celebrate it  as part of Holy Week. As we celebrate today,  we remember how Mary, too, was an initiator. She also had to leap in with her whole body, up over her head for sure, in the greatest act of faith in salvation history. Like Moses, Mary had only the word of God that this thing would work out, that the Lord really was with her. It's one thing for an angel to say so.  It's another to carry a child as an unwed mother in a culture that stones women for just such offenses.  Mary had no idea what Joseph would do, what her neighbors would do. But she knew what she would do. She would trust God, and so she stepped forward, and eternity itself parted before her.

It was on the feast of the Annunciation, after making a retreat,  that a young girl, Hedwig Borzecka became an initiator and decided to join her mother in founding the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection.  This year, during the Resurrection season, we celebrate the 125th year of the foundation of this Congregation.

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