Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 9 of the Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 9 of Novena: 
The alchemical nature of Mary

As we see in the story of Bernadette she had to face many obstacles
and challenges.  Her vision was not accepted at face value.  She
was tested by the Cure and by the community;  she was even locked
up by the police.  Can you imagine the scene?  When I visited
Lourdes it was so apparent to me that life was very simple
in the time that Bernadette lived.  Her original house and the small
little jail cell that she for a while stayed in with her family,
is still in Lourdes and one can walk through these places.
The community would have been unsophisticated peasants
and superstition would have been rife.  So it is not
surprising that the village considered Bernadette to be crazy.
And this is still true for us even today.  Following a spiritual path,
or a path of inner focus and inner knowledge, does not mean that your
path is now lined with thornless roses.  As we very well know,
life has a darker side to it as well and we see this so clearly in nature.

Water has the power to drown us or to quench our thirst.
We know Mary as the loving nurturing mother and also
as the Mater Dolorosa, the grieving mourning mother,
dressed in black, mourning the loss of her son.

In Lourdes you will see hundreds of pilgrims carrying large
containers of water from the sacred spring home every day.
We bring tiny bottles of the healing waters home with us.
Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit, a Vessel of Honour and here in
Lourdes she is the Vessel of the Sacred Waters.

Mary as Alchemical Vessel

In alchemy the vessel is the container in which the
various ingredients are mixed and transformed by each other.
It was believed that the alchemists were looking for
a way to turn lead into gold, but this is a metaphorical
journey of transforming darkness into light.  Or of
finding joy and peace amidst sorrow and hardship as we live
in a world of radical opposites and many challenges.
Mary is the vessel for the divine incarnated as her Son
and then as all of us.  She is also the spiritual vessel in which
opposites combine.  As we are tested and challenged, like Bernadette,
we have the choice to obey the instructions of the voice of the Lady
that no-one else sees or to listen to the incredulous villagers and
Cure.  As we follow the calling of our heart, we are led to dig where
no-one else thought to look and we will uncover a spring that will
feed and nourish thousands.

Join us tomorrow for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes
and maybe you would like to contribute.  I will add Mr Linky
to  tomorrow's post.

Hettienne and Mary

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