The greening power of God

Today the worldwide Sacred Heart family, and especially our schools, are keeping the feast of Mater Admirabilis. This image of a young Mary, caught up in a contemplative moment, reminds all of us who are caught up in our own busyness and turmoils, of the importance of a quiet, reflective pause with which to restore ourselves and regain our balance. 

Photo by Chris Harford
It's a familiar image, well-known within the Society since copies began to be circulated in the late 1840s - and instantly recognisable, even when it's just a few, bare lines etched into glass... such as the Mater Window at Stuart Country School in the USA. Recognisable; but also fresh, and new - and evoking a new, fresh response. Here, there is no face or gaze for us to focus on; no details with which we can be caught up. Instead, we are invited to look through Mater; to look beyond her. Her outline points us to the greenness and freshness beyond, just as the foliage and sunlight somehow give her a new, different hued luminescence.

When I first saw this image, the photographer's sister, Susan, made a reference to Mater brimming with "all things new", which in turn reminded me of Hildegard of Bingen's Viriditas: a lush freshness, vigour and vitality which is, fundamentally, what Hildegard called the greening power of God. 

A greening power; a power to make all things new, as God promised to do in Revelations, and continues to promise, and to do, each day. This year, and this month, more than any other, we need to hold on to this promise, and to the hope and strength with which it can fill us. And that, undoubtedly, is where Mary calls us to focus, drawing our gaze, always, away from herself and towards the One who is the source of all new life, of all goodness and compassion, and of all that can bring us hope. 

Happy feast to you all - and (to paraphrase Mother de Lescure) may Mary's prayers keep us always focused on the Invisible and Essential, and firmly centred in the work of God's love.