Mary in the midst of Chaos

   - Part 4

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If you take the significant moments in our tradition about Mary in the Gospel. You have the annunciation, presentation, the birth, visitation, wedding at Cana, being told that her son is going crazy, crucifixion. We guess there is something around the last supper, but we really don’t know. Every single one of them is chaos. I suspect that is why they have been picked out. Not one of them is without a sense of Chaos for her. Her life was not totally Chaotic, but it is interesting that the one’s the Gospel writers picked out all involve chaos. The Gospel writers wanting to carry.

But the story where Mary has reached a sense of stability, in the cenacle (Pentecost), the apostles are in absolute chaos. The reason the church has always imaged Mary sitting at the top of a circle was that Mary was a point of stability and connection, where all the rest of the world was crazy in this story.

It is interesting to consider what has moved from “here” to “here”. What has moved her from chaos, and being about her own chaos. To here where she has become the stability, like her son was prior to the crucifixion. Something has happened in her to enable her to become reflective of that.

There are many people which would argue, but we have no evidence of this, if Jesus is the person we see at the end of his days, that Mary always was stable, because where did he learn that knowledge and wisdom and stability, selflessness and centredness if it wasn’t from the family life. His relationship with her. I don’t want to paint her that she was always crazy, then she got this, then she was good. Our sense of her was that she was always extraordinary, that’s where the extraordinariness of Jesus was some how set alight.

Barbara, she pondered these things in her heart.

Andrew, the interesting thing that connects Mary and Jesus. Is that at the beginning Mary says “let it be done according to your will” and at the end Jesus says “let it be done according to your will”. It is God.

The whole Gospels are a claim about this relationship. They are not really a person’s life story. Part of the problem today for young people growing up, is that this must be what has happened to Jesus. When of course this is not at all. They are pieces of drama largely. Like all good drama that were put together to say something about a belief and a set of how to live. The fact that that is at the start and the finish is significant to the drama. It is one of the key points there.

If we back up just a bit.

I am interested in your experience of chaos over the last month. When you started to talk about your sense of the chaos, what sort of things were there?

What are the three things which are most likely in a person’s life to lead them to have a heart attack? Not that you are physically set up for one, but. Events or emotional things which are most likely to give you a heart attack?

Person 4, stress.

They are all to do with stress.

Person 4, shock.

They all have a shock element in them.

Person 5, diet.

No not actually diet.

Person 6, grief.

In a form. The interesting ones are – 1 – moving house, 2 – significant change in relationship, and 3 – significant change in job. When people think the things which are most likely highly chaotic for them, they describe a whole range of things. Biologically, the things which are most likely to really disturb a person, are the things they most likely centre their life around. That are the normal points of stability.

When people try and track the chaos in their life. Mostly everyday has moments of chaos. It is possible, all the time. The most disturbing chaos, are the ones that disturb the centres. The points where things are normally stable. That is where the chaos can really get a person.

But, what about yourselves. In the last month, when you thought about chaos, what did you find people talking about?

Person 7, retirement.

Margaret, moving house and changing jobs. The sacking of Bishop Bill Morris.

The changes at that level of the church. For some people there would be relationship there. Relationship always changes everything. For example, I can watch something on the news, I can see it and it does not disturb me at all. But, if someone knows the person who is in the news, it is a totally different relationship. Relationship is a big part of why a thing can be chaos or not.

Maria, death in the family.

A significant one.

Person 8, trauma.

Andrew, someone attacking me in front of other people. This was not very nice.

Michael, where I live in Caringbah the noise of traffic. I to drive orderly, they drive through red lights.Ther

e are to interesting words just there. “Chaos” and “order”.

This is very interesting (on the white board), it changes the letters. It starts with chaos until it comes to order.

It is important that we realise that we think that the two are right out like this (on opposite ends). In actual fact chaos and order are actually connected. Scientifically, an experiment was set up to test this. They had one single black line. They set up an obstacle to cause the black line to be divided into two. They set up another obstacle and split it into four. If you carry this on for enough hours, you would have the whole page covered in black. With no ability to see any different between any of the lines. What starts our as order, becomes chaos.

Then, they started to try and brake the chaos, by making a single black line. Order. The claim is that these things are not the mirror image of each other. Rather, these two things are in a single process, and that we experience them differently. In different times.

Order and chaos are not poles. They are actually the same experience in two different times.

As a human being, which do you prefer?

Crowd, order.

I actually function well in chaos. There are other brothers I live with who cannot function here at all. You can imagine what will happen to a family or an institution that the leader favours order and they then put a lot of other people along-side them who favour order. In that sort of institutional family, the person favours chaos is odd.

Then you have families where the whole house seems chaotic, because the people themselves are chaotic. In that house the person who likes order seems odd.

These two things are very much connected (chaos and order). They flow through life in lots of ways. In a connected fashion.

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11 March 2023

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Brother Graham Neist FMS

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