SABBATH REFLECTION – Matthew 1:18-24 – 4th Sunday of Advent – 22nd December 2019

‘God IS with us’. What have we done to this extraordinary statement? It is not a statement that says ‘God WILL be with us/you’ if you do this or do that……. It states clearly God IS WITH US: no conditions, no preferential tribes, no favourites, no exclusions, no expressions of hope that God WILL be with us some time in the future, no clerical system declaring when God is and when God isn’t with us… GOD IS…



What have we also done to Mary? We have put her on a pedestal as a single event in the life of our history, as someone totally pure, as someone meek and mild and removed from our human Reality, as someone whom the Spirit favoured above anyone else, as someone who miraculously conceived by a God outside of the natural order of the Cosmos, as someone who became an intercessor between Earth and Heaven–GOD IS WITH US! as someone we could never be like because there was only one Mary – there was only one mother of God.


But would it be more accurate to see Mary as the birthing of Love archetype: That the Christ whom Mary birthed is to be birthed in the Heart of every human being? That her ‘yes’ is our ‘yes’? That the Spirit of God favours everyone? That the conception of Love is most certainly the Grace of the Spirit WITHIN US ALL? That God always works from within the natural order of the Cosmos which is still mysteriously unfolding? That every human beings purpose is to continuously and consciously give birth to Love? That the Incarnation continues in, through and with the Spirit of Love present in ALL of us and that has been PRESENT since the beginning of time? Why do we get so caught in one off events and not see the larger picture and its extraordinary implications for the whole Cosmos right down to each of us as individuals? It is an extraordinary intimacy here with us NOW.


Why do we want to so often believe in a ‘magical’ God, removed from the human/life story – a god out there like a puppeteer pulling strings for some and not for others etc.? When we do this do we not miss the sheer Mystery present all around us and within us? It seems our Hearts can so easily become closed to who we truly are. GOD IS WITH US – waiting to be birthed over and over again from within us! The whole Cosmos is like one large womb, longing for Love’s fulfilment. How do we live such a profound Mystery? Until our religious institutions and those who are part of them start preaching and believing in a GOD WITH US, until we observe the language we use, until we do not take the birth of Jesus as some magical one time happening, but see it as OUR evolutionary journey into Wholeness, then we miss the sheer Mystery and Beauty before us ALL. It is not about being meek and mild or pure or removed from Reality, it is about our ‘yes’ to this ongoing birthing.


Where are we seeing this birthing of Love happening around us? As significant portions of Australia burn and experience prolonged drought; and as many declare that 2019 has been a difficult year for any number of reasons - personally, politically and from a religious perspective; as well as disgraceful exposure of corruption in our banking and aged care sectors and other institutions; as businesses go to the wall; and as we find ourselves with governments ‘that seem to know how to win elections but have forgotten what it is to LEAD’ quote I heard recently on Radio National; as the freedoms of our journalists are eroded; as the gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening; as our racist tendencies are being repeatedly exposed; as we continue to sell our planet off and watch her groan under the abuse because of our greed and outrageous hunger for power and economic gain - I find myself asking: Where are the birthers of Love in all of this? I find myself asking where am I birthing Love in all of this? Perhaps it is a good question for all of us to ponder? Where is my/our ‘yes’ to birth Love?


To give our ‘yes’ to the conception of Love living within us is no simple, feel good matter. To look at Mary, we must see the humiliation, the selflessness, the frustration, the struggle to understand, and the suffering she endured because of her ‘yes’ along with her incredible strength and courage. We must also see the great Love she was faithful to, and that is the gift she gives to us; to do the same. She is a universal figure of what it is to conceive and give birth to Love, and that is not the possession of any one religion – it is a UNIVERSAL TRUTH. The images we have been exposed to of Mary down through time and the way the Catholic faith in particular have portrayed her, have probably done great harm. They have somewhat blinded us to the profound Truth before us. On a personal note, I have never had a devotion to Mary, it made little sense to me, and yet as I write and have reflected upon her, I find myself deeply drawn to her here. Here, she becomes more Real, more True. She is a very real invitation into Love. She is a Cosmic figure who constantly reminds us that GOD IS WITH US.


Where do we see these archetypal birthers of Love living around us? They are present everywhere in the littlest acts of Love to the greatest. But to consciously birth Love, to give our ‘yes’, will mean we can no longer be silent when we see Love being abused or violated in any way. I think of Greta Thunberg here; what a courageous young woman in the face of much opposition. She has reached large parts of our world in her quest for us all to honour the Earth upon which we live and that sustains us. She is a great source of hope for the future and a prophetic voice in the wilderness. She is a wonderful example of the Christmas Story repeatedly being birthed in our world. She is an image of the Mary archetype for us all. A question to ponder: Who are the Birthers of Love archetypes present in your own lives, and more widely, present in our world, for you?


©Annemarie Reiner

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