I glanced at my “Wisdom” bookcase this morning as I sat down to ponder the day. All the books on those three shelves have something to do with going deeper spiritually. About two-thirds of them are still waiting to open their voices to me but I have great hopes of savoring each of their messages as I go forward. I noticed a thin volume on its side on the second shelf between three other books that arrived recently and found no room for standing upright. Since I couldn’t identify it I had to take a look, of course. As soon as I pulled it out I recognized it as a cherished Christmas gift two years ago named Ripening, a publication by Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, the second in a series called Oneing. I read again the meaning “oneing” as an old English word that was used by Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) to describe the encounter between God and the soul. Rohr uses it to express the divine unity that stands behind all the divisions, dichotomies and dualisms in the world as in the words of Jesus “that all may be one.”
I took this as an answer to what I should write this morning on this day that Christians commemorate the “Annunciation” to Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus. There are all sorts of questions around the gospel text (LK 1:26-38) – about the messenger/angel (who and how the message was received: just a light, a voice, an apparition, an inner knowing?), about Mary’s response: (fear, hesitation, confusion,disbelief, consideration of Joseph, plausibility of her immediate response?), etc. I’ve had many interesting and some deep conversations about what tradition says and what is a matter of personal faith. I think, though, we could do well to consider Julian’s word as what happened to Mary on that day and then continued to grow in her throughout her life as she lived toward God in the monumental events and the everyday tasks of being herself and being mother. Additionally, we might recall Rohr’s suggestion of how we might proceed to this “oneing” in our lives for the good of ourselves and the survival of the earth.