“I don't know if you ascended
I don't care what's been amended
There was one sure miracle
The faith of a little girl named Miriam
Oh you are blessed indeed
Blessed is the fruit of your tree
Yeshua kings of kings
And son of Miriam
No banners were unfurled
When God stepped into the world
Held in the arms of a little girl
From Miriam by Pierce Pettis
A beautiful song by my friend Pierce Pettis about Jesus’ mother. Last night I chaired an event at Queens University, Belfast where the almost unanimously Protestant Christian Union invited the full time Chaplains of the four main denominations in Ireland to answer questions about faith. Without doubt my good friend and former colleague Father Gary Toman took the brunt of the evening. It was a very good thing that at last at least a small group of a vast Christian Union stayed behind after their main meeting to hear what a Catholic believes from a Catholic, rather than finding their information from Protestants telling them what they think Catholics believed.
Inevitably Mary came up in the questions. Karen (Presbyterian), John (Methodist) and Barry (Anglican) all spoke of the need within Protestantism to re-evaluate Mary who has been shunned if not even sometimes abused by Protestants in an anti-Catholic reaction. Father Gary assured the Protestants that Catholics don’t worship Mary but would have had a different view from his Chaplaincy colleagues in that Catholics believe Mary didn’t sin.
Why I thought of Pierce’s song Miriam as a great Lyric For The Day, the day after, is that Pettis expresses so powerfully and tenderly the miracle of Mary’s mothering of God incarnate and then then almost says, "no matter what your theology around this event is, it doesn't take away from that the fact that it is still 'one sure miracle.'” Can I repeat my encouragement of last night on this posting today – let us, who might have marginalized Mary from the story, allow her Magnificat and utter obedience to God be in the forefront of our Advent meditation.