A Mary Experience

I dreamed of being chosen to crown Mary in May. I prayed, “Lovely Lady, dressed in blue, teach me how to pray…” Mary was someone our mothers and grandmothers preached we should emulate.

Somewhere in my teens, I dumped Mary. I didn’t want to be like Mary, expected to pray all day and all that blue and white—not me!

And then—

My 26th birthday, I was beyond sick. BUT! I had seven-month-old twins to feed and bathe.

Sitting in my doctor’s office, I heard him say, “Pat, you’re pregnant.” WHAT? That couldn’t be! I had twins, still carpet crawlers! A new baby at Christmas?

Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and we slid into Advent.

Advent. How did Mary experience pregnancy?

Magnificat.

This wasn’t some saccharine intercession by a blond in blue gauze. This was a gutsy young woman singing of anawim…

I was startled. Pressure grabbed my belly. It was time. St. Luke’s was close. I had to focus, to breathe.

That night as I held my baby, I remembered how Advent brought me to Mary, closer to the mystery of God’s love being clothed with the body of an infant. It was realization of how God waits with each of us until we can say “Yes.” Christ is born into the messiness of our lives when we are open to the profound reality that God is always there giving us this chance.

Twenty-five years later, standing in a kibbutz, Shira was in labor. Days leading up to this night were filled with laughter, sharing freshly picked dates, wading in the Sea of Galilee.

The midwife was there. Shira was ready. I held her hand. So young…this was Mary, Shira, me.

Shira’s last push.

A baby’s cry.

My heart remembered my baby’s heartbeat and mine melting into one drumming sound: tu-tum, pu-pum tu-tum, pu-pum tu-tum, pu-pum. Shira was smiling, her baby at her breast. I knew she could hear the drumming sound as Mary heard it before us.

“Be it done to me according to your word.” Mary accepting Christ born of her body gave us permission to claim, “This is my body, this is my blood.”

Pat Pickett, OblSB