We can at last come full circle in our reflections. We spoke of the original experience of a child in her mother’s arms, and how this is an image of the mystery of the Trinity. It is a glimpse of our ultimate destiny and an invitation to live from love, within love, and for love—to find ourselves and our happiness within the all-enveloping embrace of love and communion. But this primal experience of being held in the bosom of our mother, in the bosom of love, is fractured in so many ways in this world. How can it be restored, definitively and fully—not by a broken and limited human heart, but by Love himself?
Saint John writes in the beginning of his Gospel: “No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (Jn 1:18). Yes, here we have the answer. This verse, after our reflections, jumps out to us with a new and profound meaning. The Son, resting and playing eternally in the bosom of his Father, in the shelter and joy of his Love, comes into our world as a man among us. He is born of a human mother; he grows in human maturity. He experiences, with us and for us, our own original experience, not only in the heart of his divine life in the Trinity, but as an infant in his mother’s arms.
He has the same intuition of Love as we do, and yet this is but the transposition of his eternal experience as the beloved Son of the Father into time…into a human mind and heart. In other words, when his human consciousness awakens to the mystery of Love, which he first encounters in the loving face of Mary, he immediately recognizes it as the all-enveloping Love of his heavenly Father. Further, as he awakens to self-consciousness, he knows who he is: the beloved Son of such a loving Father. Therefore, his being cradled in the arms of his mother is but an expression of his being cradled forever in the arms of his heavenly Father. Here the “image” and the “Reality,” human love and Trinitarian Love, meet and intersect in the most profound way. Here Love himself is held in the arms of Love, and mediating this encounter between Love and Love, between Father and Son, is a humble woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
By coming to us in this awesome way, Jesus not only experiences our own humanity, our own life experience, but he does so precisely so that he can journey with us through everything. He becomes our Friend and Companion through every stage of our life, and in every experience—those full of beauty and light, and those full of sorrow and darkness. Further, he loves us in the place where we find ourselves—in the place where he unites himself to us—in the midst of our brokenness, our fear, our sin.
He loves us as the One who knows himself to be infinitely loved by the Father, who rests always in his Love, and who speaks and acts only from and within this Love. He loves us as the One who is utterly secure in the love of his Father. “The Father has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him… As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love” (Jn 8:29; 15:9). Precisely by loving us in this way, Jesus can re-open our own hearts to recognize the face of the Father, and, yes…to recognize that we too are his beloved children. Jesus loves us as the beloved Son, and so reveals to us that we have been created to be beloved children of the Father, to be sheltered in the cradling arms of his Love forever. Christ takes us up, in our fear, in our pain, in our hope, into his own loving embrace, and he holds us close to his compassionate Heart.
Yes, this movement of his love for us reaches its climax in the mystery of his Cross and Resurrection. From the depths of his own unbreakable intimacy with the Father, and his complete openness in love and trust, he pierces into the narrowness of our fear and isolation, our suffering, our loneliness, our pain—in order to break it open again from the inside. He grants us to experience anew this “original experience” that has been so threatened, so broken by the rupture of sin and evil. And yet we experience it, this all-enveloping Love, in an infinitely deeper and stronger way than ever before. For now Love has come to us in the very depths of our brokenness, our darkness, our fear, our isolation, and has enveloped us in his embrace.
In this way he reopens our heart to welcome his tender and generous gift. He enables us to recognize, by looking into his tender gaze upon us, the depths of his love for us, and our own unique identity in his eyes. And, touched by this Love, this breathtaking Love revealed in the Heart of Jesus Crucified, we can allow ourselves to surrender, to be taken up by the movement of Love that sweeps us up in its ardent desire to unite us to itself.
We can be carried, beyond the barriers of fear, beyond the boundaries of sin, suffering, and death, into the everlasting and unbreakable light and joy of the Resurrection. Here there is only love, only the intimacy of hearts bound together in perfect communion through the vulnerability of their mutual acceptance and self-giving. Yes, the Risen Jesus carries us every day of our lives—if only we allow him to carry us—through the passion of this world and into the endless joy of the next. Indeed, he implants the seeds of hope, joy, and freedom—of deep and abiding intimacy—into our hearts and our lives even here and now in this world.
He is already close to us, already holding us. And in this closeness, he carries us unceasingly, moment by moment, toward the consummation that awaits us in the new creation. There we will be immersed forever, with him, in the tender bosom of the Father. We will rest and play, as beloved children within the beloved Son, within the all-enveloping embrace of perfect Love. We will breathe with the Father and the Son their single breath, their Spirit, of endless and eternal joy.
– Do I understand what is being said concerning Jesus’ encounter with the Love of his Father being mediated through the love of Mary, his mother? If not, can I re-read and reflect on this section?
– If Mary was able to reveal the love of God to the very Son of God, then she can also reveal it to me. Indeed, her very maternal tenderness and closeness to us can help us confidently approach the Father through her. Can I ask Mary to reveal to me how much God loves me?
– If Jesus has really entered into the darkest, most painful, and most shame-filled places of my life, then here he can shelter me in his Love. Is there a place in my life where I have not yet acknowledged his presence? Can I invite him into that place now?