Simeon’s yes and ours (Our brother along the way) Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to be dedicated to God; Jesus being their firstborn son. Simeon, an old man, who had spent his life seeking a deeper communion with God, as well as understanding the mysteries of his faith; was present that day praying in the temple. As he was on most days, praying and fasting before the face of God, living out his faith in concrete ways. He was very old and at the end of his life. I would think the way he is portrayed in the New Testament, as a man deeply immersed in God, loving towards others and always open to the Spirit of God, to truth, is not something that happened overnight. We are seeing him portrayed after decades of struggle, and no doubt failure, yet continuing on his journey progressing ever deeper into the infinite’s embrace. So like most of us, his ‘yes’ to God grew over a long lifetime. We often see this in older men and women who make prayer an important part of their life. Perhaps starting off when much younger, slowly, giving bits of time to meditation, reading and pondering what their faith was calling them to, as well to the deep mystery of their relationship with what is called ‘God’. I have met many older men and women, from different faiths, mostly Christians, but Hindu’s, and Muslims as well, and those who are just on a spiritual path, though one that is disciplined in its seeking. They all are the same. They have a focus, a lived experience; a way of being that can often be healing when near them. Catholic men and women as they near the end of their journey may spend hours simply saying the rosary, each unique in how they do it, but nonetheless in deep communion with God. The rosary lends one to pray for all of mankind, which is the focus of the Our Father as well as the Hail Mary. Or they may simply sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament in deep silence for hours each day. Older Jewish men and women as well as many Christians, find in the Psalms, the collective questioning, experiences and prayers of mankind…. as well as their own personal prayer to God, that they feel called to recite throughout the day and at night as well. Expressing the whole gambit of human experience and emotion, and praying not only for themselves but for all. Hindus, as well as Buddhists, who spend their lives seeking the truth, meditating, chanting, as well move deeper into the mystery that can’t be boxed in our owned by anyone religious faith, or spiritual path…..it can’t be helped. I believe that all of our seeking is an answer to an invitation that the infinite calls us to. So Mary and Joseph, young and inexperienced go to this wise man. He tells Mary, on this day of happiness in the new life that she and Joseph have brought into the world, no doubt delivered with tenderness and sorrow, that a sword will pierce her heart. I believe that most mothers, as well as fathers, understand what this sword is. The deeper the love the more painful the wound that it leaves, that never heals, but does not lead to bitterness but to greater love and compassion for their children. For Catholics and for Christians in general, Mary is the Mother of God. For some threads of Christianity, Mary has a central role and place as Christ Mother. How is it that she gave birth to the Messiah? I can only speak from my own experience of my relationship with the Eternal One. I have always sought God, even as a young child, which is not unusual. As I grew in this relationship, as well as my ability to respond to grace on an ever deeper level, it became ever more clear that there are aspects of my inner life or my soul that are in rebellion with God. Not in an angry way, but something there, a wall that keeps me from becoming one with the Blessed One, the Eternal Lover of us all. Perhaps this is needed, this struggle, for I am who I am today, with all of my ‘screwed-up-ness’ and all, because of these inner conflicts. I would not want to change any of that as I look back on my life. So my ‘yes’ to God is taking a lifetime to deepen, to allow grace to work on the other side of those walls until one day the walls will no longer exist. When that day comes, then I too like the Blessed Mother will give full birth to Christ Jesus. I believe that within Mary, a gift from God, there were no walls, only openness, and deep humility, deeper than any other human, of her complete dependence on the Infinite One, complete trust, that is taking me a lifetime to achieve. So Mary shows us what we are all called to. Simeon, at the end of his life, perhaps was close to giving his complete ‘yes’ to God. For Mary, it was something already accomplished. She had total trust, she was not afraid of existence or pain or suffering, because of this total dependence on God that was gifted to her. In her humility, was her greatness, no block, no walls, only “yes, yes, yes”. So like Mary, I believe we are all called to become pregnant with the Eternal Blessed One, to not fear, which is a long journey for most of us. It is I believe, when all is said and done, pure gift, all grace, it can’t be earned, it is always offered, and hopefully one day, all will accept it and receive it. Some are called early in the day, some in the mid-afternoon, and others at the evening and some in the lateness of the night. Mary was called and responded in the first moment of the dawn, and bore the hundredfold all the days of her life. Hence, her ability to become pregnant with God, the one who is beyond all image, all understanding, who is not a being, who has no form, yet, is revealed as Love eternal in human form, in Jesus Christ--BrMD.