A Woman Wrapped in Silence

Words from Catherine Doherty (1896-1985)

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People want me to explain my attitude to Our Lady. Well, I approach Our Lady with awe and love. And because she's a human being like you and me, I say to myself, what faith!

When the angel told her about becoming the Mother of God she responded, fiat! Fiat is sort of a Boom Yes! God's reverberations. So big we still talk about it. She did this when she was about fourteen years old. I was married at fifteen so I can kind of sympathize. But what got me is her complete supernatural acceptance of God's will

Have I got that kind of faith? There are days when I think I have faith but then I look at her and I say to myself why don't I pray for more faith? Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Just think about that strange, incredible, unbelievable faith of a young girl. At fourteen years old she became the Mother of God and the Mother of men. She knew full well that people would not understand that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. For a long time after her marriage to Joseph she must have been the talk of the town. In those days the women used to wash their linens in ponds. When she brought her linen I'm sure people began to whisper about her. I can just see those gossipy women. But Our Lady never said anything. She was the woman wrapped in silence.

Slowly, very slowly, something is coming back to us. People want to go apart and be silent so as to hear the footsteps of God and his voice. People are beginning to go back to Our Lady, the woman who said fiat so that God could become man.

Fiat. Do I say fiat? Why is it that we are unable to say fiat again and again and again? What is it that stops us from being who we are, namely Christians, followers of Christ. We don't want to be proclaimed as a Catholic too much. But we've got to get this faith right out. It's something that you pass on.

"As I have done, so you must do." (John 13:15) That's what Christ said after he washed the feet of his apostles. We've got to get deep into what it is to wash feet. We've got to get deep into what it is to be poor. We have to get deep into what it means to pray. And we can find all this in Our Lady. She will teach us.

When she held her son in her arms when he was dead and she had been given to Saint John, she became the Mother of men as well as the Mother of God. So I come to her and I kneel at her feet and there are not words because she's always silent. But her silence speaks. And she seems to get up and take me by the hand as if to bring me into the next moon. She brings me to her spouse, the Holy Spirit,

And remember what the Holy Spirit is here for. Christ said, "I will send you an advocate who will explain to you (as lawyers do - advocate means a lawyer) all the things that I have taught you." (John 14:26) He realized that his apostles were not exactly brilliant and that they needed a lot of explanation about a lot of things. So he sent the Holy Spirit, the one who overshadowed his mother. That's what we have. A woman wrapped in silence who lives in the Holy Spirit, in God the Father and God the Son.

So we can turn to her in grave humility and say to her, "Look, you are one of us. Teach us the height to which we can rise. We can't bear Christ, but we can be pregnant with love for every human being, men and women alike in giving life to other people. Mother, teach us how to do it. Teach us how to say 'yes' to the impossible."


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