December 11, 2011

The Moon and Mary

This afternoon I attended our monthly Oblate meeting at St. Walburga Monastery in New Jersey.  We were treated to a presentation on the necessity of leisure and living in the present. A major part of the presentation was on awareness.  Part of living in the present is "being mindfully aware of our surroundings," Sister said, and how "God makes Himself known" through our encounters with God's creation. Awareness helps us remember "that God is God and we are not." On my drive home following evening prayer, while driving over the Goethals Bridge which connects New Jersey with Staten Island, I noticed the full moon, and was very aware of it off to my left as I traveled on the Staten Island Expressway. Once as the road veered off to the East the moon was clearly seen through the left side my front windshield.  As I was watching the moon (and watching the road) I had an understanding of what sister was speaking about.

It was not just the beauty of the moon that attracted me, but I recalled a quote that I heard earlier during our RCIA session.  I had showed one of the episodes of Fr Robert Barron's spectacular documentary series Catholicism.  It was the episode on the Blessed Mother. I showed this episode because of the feast of the Immaculate Conception last Thursday and tomorrow's feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  In the video, Fr Barron quotes Archbishop Fulton Sheen who said, "Mary is like the moon, for her light is always a reflection of a higher light."  

I was hoping that as I crossed the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn that I would see the beauty of the moon reflected in New York Harbor but then realized that I was heading in the wrong direction for that to occur.  Yet the Lord had other ideas.  As I drove through the plaza and onto the bridge, there was the moon, precisely in the center of the bridge uprights.  It appeared as if I were driving directly into the moon. For once I wished there was stop and go traffic on the bridge (as there often is) so that I could snap a picture with my phone, but that wasn't happening.  I lost sight of it for a few moments as I approached the high point of the span but then it was visible again for the final three quarters of a mile before I turned off the bridge.

The image that was coming to me all this time on the bridge was that Mary, the bright reflected light of Jesus, was leading me toward her Son.  But she was not only the moon light guiding me, but the bridge between heaven and earth.  Assumed into heaven, she alone experiences what awaits us at the resurrection of our bodies at the end of time.  As Fr. Barron states, she "becomes a sign of hope for the rest of the human race."

So was it coincidence that I chose to show the DVD this morning where the image of Mary as the moon was presented and that  the moon was just a day past full? Was it a coincidence that this afternoon's talk was about awareness of God's presence in our surroundings?  And, was it a coincidence that the moon just happened to be between the bridge uprights as I was traversing the span?  Coincidences?  Maybe, but I think not.  God had something to share with me and at any other time, if I was less aware, I just might have missed it.

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