Mary in the midst of Chaos

   - Part 3

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When you came here today, did you have any ideas about Mary and Chaos at all that you bring?

When you came here, did you come with a question, or did you come with a belief? That is already there for you.

An understanding.

You would like an understanding or you have an understanding.

No. I feel an understanding.

About Mary and Chaos.


Susan, “I have look at the life of Mary. I relate to her life in parallel with my own. I have an understanding and it is a positive view”.

So, when seeing Mary’s life as we understand it you have been able to make connections and parallels into your own life. They provide support.

Person 2, Probably Mary and suffering.

How do they work and where do they fit? That sought of stuff.

Person 2, Mary at the cross. I have experienced that in my own life.

So, there is a strong sense of relationship with that moment in particular with Mary.

Person 3, I came with an expectation. Over the years my devotion to Jesus through Mary has waned (Decreased). It has not always been strong at times. My recollection is that Mary will support them if they believe in her provided they were not obstinate (stubborn). I will try not to be obstinate.

There is a strong tradition with Christianity that someone who tries to understand their life from a perspective of Mary. Because of who Mary is, will only ever find Jesus. Thomas Merton’s image of Mary was a pain of glass. So he argued in regards to virginity that Mary was so pure as a pain of glass that nothing of God’s stream of life was blocked by the glass. It all was able to pass through. He says, “most of us are a bit dirty”. The light comes, it tries to pass through. There are patches which are pretty good and patches which are not so good.

It is crucial to understand that Mary was only a pain of glass as we are. There is no claim that she was extraordinary beyond other human beings. That is why we can put the lives like this.

It is crucial that we understand that if you follow Mary you will ever find Jesus.

Sister Marie, what about the fact that Mary did not have original sin?

This is a good question and we would have to drag in 3 or 4 theologians to do it.

One of the problems we face here is that within the church, the Catholic tradition, it uses theological frames and thinking to try and describe what its understanding and work is. Typically most people borrow those theological understandings and try to apply them to real living.

Different example and a different field. In physics this table is 99% space, yet, I am leaning on it. If you go and do the physics theory it will be made clear to you that it is 99% space and my hand should go through it. The physics theory is accurate and probably reasonable true. However, it does not help me to appreciate or understand reality.

The two are not inconsistent, but, they co-exist in life. They are not one and the same claims about reality. So, theological claims like original sin, are an attempt theologically to explain certain realities of human living. But, actually they are not much help day to day.

There are a whole series of claims. The virginity of Mary. All of these ones. Which are the accepted truth of the Church. They are not the same as claiming biological reality. They may be. But, they are not one and the same.

In my favourite church, when father talks is a flashing light which describes when father speaks theologically, physiologically, anthropologically, psychologically, or just his own personal opinion that he has over the coffee table. Not that any of them are incorrect, but that mostly when a homily has been given they do not tell you which of the spaces they are talking out of. You can imagine when a 14-year-old when father says about Mary’s virginity he or she does not hear theology. They hear biology. They understand every statement being made biologically, which is not what the theology is claiming at all. It is not trying to speak biologically.

This is one of the problems of our church. That we are not being clear enough about which space we are speaking out of.

That is why it is important for me to talk to you and say “my space as spirituality and it is fundamental human spirituality”. That is the space I work out of. This is where my understanding talks from.

I have no problems with theological definitions, but what do I find helpful to try and live my life.

For original sin with Mary, it would depend on the theologians definition of original sin. There are 3 or 4 out there. I prefer 1 over some others. Church would say “the claim about Jesus being God diminished or heightened his being human”. That is crucial. Therefore we do not want to claim anything more for Mary. When Catholic tradition says “God became human in Jesus”. The claim is that in being God, nothing was made less or more human. He was fully human….and God. I cannot explain that to you. I cannot make any theory which will make it all fit nicely. But we don’t want to walk away from the claim. The claim is that he was fully God and fully human. Some how it worked together.

It is the same for Mary. What ever happened for Mary in being the Mother of God, it changed nothing of the fullness of her humanity. She was fully a woman. In her time and space in history.

Maria, just the topic of this “Mary in the midst of chaos for me makes Mary present now. What you have been saying about Mary being a real person, not claiming anything more or less, than being a full human being. Mary in the midst of chaos, to me indicates she is with us because this (here) is where the chaos is. If she is in the midst of chaos, it is all very well and good to think she is up there (away) up in heaven, floating around and everything is perfect. Mary in the midst of Chaos, she is here with us.

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04 August 2021

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Brother Graham Neist FMS

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