When Jesus saw His mother standing there, He said “Woman, behold thy son.”
He said to the Beloved Disciple, “Behold thy mother.”
And from that moment, the disciple took her into his home.
In the beginning, when God created the Heavens and the Earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.
When God speaks, what He speaks is done because God is all-powerful. He spoke into the void and the chaos, and there was light where there had been none. And He saw that the light was good, because all of God’s works are good. He went on in this way, separating the waters above the firmament from the waters below, the sea from the land, the day from the night, all merely by His word, and all of these were good. Then He created the vessels to contain the light that He had made, and the living things– the monsters of the deep, the birds of the air, the beasts of the earth. He created all of these with His word, and saw that they were good.
After He had rested, He created humankind, male and female in His image. He didn’t create them with a mere word but fashioned them with His hands, because He loved them so much. And He saw that they were very good, and He placed them in a garden watered by four streams where He planted every kind of tree that is good for food.
The woman and the man were without sin. They could choose to sin; they could choose what was contrary to the good that God had created for them, but they hadn’t, yet.
And then they did. The woman took the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and shared it with her husband, and then they did know good and evil, for they had been good and were now evil. Evil entered into the world that had been good. The woman and the man left the garden and went into the wilderness, and we are in the wilderness to this day.
The man named his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.
All these years later– only God Himself knows how many children have been born to Eve and her descendants. Only God knows how many sins have been committed, how many choices for evil, how much suffering Mankind has inflicted upon itself, how many have died and gone back into the earth that was good before evil entered the world. All these years later, a woman was standing at the most evil place in all of the earth– a place that was watered by streams of blood, a place where nothing grew except the trees of execution the Romans had made. This was the hill called Calvary or Golgatha.
She could have chosen to sin. She could have chosen evil just as her ancestors had done, but she didn’t. God had filled her with grace, but the choice was still hers, and she had chosen not to sin.
She followed God faithfully all the days of her life. On this day, she followed Him to Golgatha.
There she saw a man hanging from a tree, but the man was also God– God suffering, God abandoned, God mocked by the holiest and most profane together, God naked and poor. He had given everything He had to the creatures made in His image; they were, at that moment, casting lots for his robe.
Miriam stood by faithfully. She did not abandon God. She could have. Everyone else had, but she did not.
God looked down on that place of horrendous evil that Man had chosen when they could have chosen Him. He saw a desert where He had willed a garden. He saw death worshiped rather than life. He saw condemned prisoners, people He’d created to live with Him forever, screaming in agony, longing to die quickly instead of live a moment more. He saw other men, men He loved with all His heart, tormenting their prisoners to make the pain as deep as possible. He saw the priests and scholars of the people He had chosen to bear His name exalting along with the conquerors who oppressed them, because they had killed Him at last.
There were streams of blood on the ground instead of water. The trees that stood in the parched earth were themselves dead, and were instruments of death. A cloud covered the sun so that no one could tell day from night. Chaos reigned over all that He had made, because His children chose this instead of Him.
He also saw His disciple, a sinful man who had come out to be with Him. And He saw the woman who was without sin, who had kept free from sin all these years, suffering with Him and not running away. He saw a new Eve standing at the foot of a dead tree, with evil on every side but not choosing evil.
And God said to Miriam, “Behold your son.”
He said to His disciple, “Behold your mother.”
And just as light was created in the chaos by a word from God, so by a word from God, Miriam was made the mother of all the living.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Steel Magnificat will be meditating on the Seven Last Words of Christ throughout the Great Fast.