On Sundays my parents used to take me to Holy Mass, even though I was still very young. In a way the weekly gestures of the priest swaying his aspergillum, his arms spread wide over the sacred host, his fingers subtly making the sign of the cross, marked the passing of time to me. Until then I had floated around in a vacuum where time didn’t exist. Sunday’s mass was like a levee in that vacuum to which I returned every week. But there was also another presence at that center: lady Madonna
Madonna watching me
I was fascinated by the gestures, though, not by the words. As soon as the priest started to preach my glance strayed to the Madonna which stood in a side aisle. Candles were burning in front of the statue.
The Madonna held a child that seemed to be floundering in her arms as if it tried to escape from her grip. In his left hand the child held a bird.
As the priest’s words floated unabsorbed high above me in the nave of the church, I wished I was that bird.
As time goes by…
I have not been back to that church ever since I was ten years and I don’t intend to go back soon. I’m too scared to destroy the perfect image of the candles, the loving countenance of Mother Mary and the floundering child with its bird. Mother Mary is closer to my heart than abstract concepts as the Big Painter in the Sky, God or the Universe.
I reckon Mother Mary understands us, having gone through the same tribulations as we do.
Often I ask Her to give me some of her warmth and mildness in my voice as I speak to others. Some of Her peace, gentleness, simplicity, the radiant look of Her eyes when I meet other human beings.
However, I don’t build my castle on a force from outside. I believe in the Rock in the Dry and Weary Landscape of my Interior, where there is no water.
Sometimes the Rock disappears under the sand.
Don’t despair then.
Only those who are unaware of the Rock inside, never doubt its existence.