The featured song today is sung by Francesca Battistelli, whose voice I love, as I do so many of her songs. It is sung from the viewpoint of the mother of Jesus, Mary. There is one line in particular that resonates with me as a human being who God has loved into being:
“The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy.” That is true of all of us. In the Greek Orthodox faith Mary is called Theotokos, the “God-bearer.” And that is fitting for so she was. She was chosen and God was especially pleased with her. Yes, as Francesca sings in the song, Mary was “just a girl.” But she prophesies herself during the visitation with her kinswoman Elizabeth that “all generations will call me blessed.” That’s not just an ordinary person. That’s someone very special who was set aside for a special purpose, a holy purpose, an (eternal) life saving purpose. For she will bear the child Jesus, true God and true man, for the salvation of the world. So, yes, God-bearer Mary is.
But we, too, can be God bearers. We just have to open our hearts and invite the Lord to dwell there. For as St. Augustine famously wrote, “our hearts are restless” until they rest in God. And we have to offer Him that vacancy so God can abide there. Then we know such peace and such joy that the world cannot comprehend.
The lyrics that are Mary’s thoughts in the song also make this observation and pose a question. “All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?”
Love can go that far, and even further. First the humbling act of the incarnation (God becoming human) and then the actual degradation of suffering and hanging on a cross to die for us, out of that same love. (See John 3:16). And we’re supposed to follow the Leader and do the same. We must humble ourselves, in fact we should die to ourselves and live for the Lord.
And for others. If we are to truly be God-bearers, we must not shout down or criticize people for their views and beliefs – we should love them; we must not lose patience and stop listening to what those with differing ideas are saying – we should pray for them; we cannot condemn others for their behavior – we must give them hope.
That’s what Jesus did. He forgave sins. We should, too. He welcomed the outcasts and the sinners. We should, too. He gave hope to everyone if they would just hope in Him. We should let people know about the hope we have, we need to be able to “give the reason for our hope,” to quote St. Peter in the New Testament.
Open your arms and your hearts to let Jesus in. Be a God-bearer. Be a light. Be salt. Give hope. Share your love, the love of Christ that lives within you. It’s obvious when we see so many people who are lost and scared (which makes them angry and destructive) that they need us to be all those things Jesus showed us how to be. If you carry Jesus around in your heart and in your spirit, you don’t have to be lonely or scared. You can find peace and contentment, and even joy in any situation. Don’t forget to tell other people who need to know! That’s evangelization – sharing the Good News!