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Mary Woman to First Gaze

The Nativity by Corregio


by Sr. Chiara Laura Serboli, OSC

 Peace to you all!

Here we are once again surrounded and enclosed in the mystery of the God-child who comes and is incarnate in our little story in order to make it big with his humble richness.

A mystery that always given freely, reaching us where we are. Let us fix, then, our gaze upon this mystery, let us be filled with wonder just as Mary was.

Yes, like Mary, because it was she who was the first to rest her eyes on the naked body of God and who covered him with her gaze. She was the first still to wrap him in swaddling clothes.

There he is, the hope of the people caressed by the eyes of Mary.

The patriarchs had awaited his arrival since the most remote centuries, but they did not have the joy of seeing him. The prophets had described his face, but their eyes were closed and they did not recognize him.

In the cold winter nights, the pastors, by the fire, spoke of he who would come, and their eyes glowed with hopeful waiting. Eyes of the imprisoned and children. Eyes of the exiled and oppressed. Eyes of the sufferers and dreamers.

How many eyes have been held up towards him! Desirous of seeing his face. Disappointed for unexpected delays. Tired from long vigils. But inflamed for hopeful expectations. Opened wide to the heavens, held up by the deeply desired invocation: show us your face!

And there it is, finally, Emmanuel, the waiting of the peoples, small and defenseless, like all newborns. And in the eyes of Mary, a long chain of unfilled gazes of the past lights up and finds an end.

Only a creature like her could give a worthy welcome to the Son of God into the world, caressing him with clear eyes of holiness. After her, many will have the privilege of seeing him, but the first to wrap him with a warm cover of her gaze, was her.

Saint Mary, woman to first gaze, give us the grace of wonder. The world has robbed us of the capacity to leap with joy, there is no wonder in our eyes and we are tired. Our souls are dry and the waters of wonder are dried up. Victims of boredom, we lead a life often arid of happiness and poor of tenderness. You who experienced the surprises of God, give back to us, we beg, the joy of a gaze that saves and a sweetness of the encounter with Emmanuel.

Holy Mary, woman to first gaze, your eyes, that night, nourished the Lamb placed at your feet and dressed the son of God with love. Ours, on the other hand, are often tired from difficult situations. You who always brought in the eyes the reflections of the clearness of God, help us so that we may recognize traces of the same clearness even in lives of those disfigured around us.

Holy Mary, woman to first gaze, thank you because, wrapped around that child, you represent us. You are the first creature to have contemplated God made flesh: and we wish to face the window of your eyes to taste with you that first beginning.

But you are also the first creature on earth whom God saw with his fleshly eyes: and we wish to cling to your vestments to share with you this privilege.

Thank you, incomparable friend of Christmas. Hope of our loneliness. Comfort of our Nativity scenes without child, choirs of angels or shepherds.

Forgive us if our gazes are broken or lost somewhere. If we follow other faces. If we chase other stars. But you know that in the bottom of our soul there is the nostalgia for that gaze, or we should say, of those gazes: of yours and his. And then, “turn towards us your eyes of mercy”, oh mother and give us back the gaze of children so that during this and every Christmas the best gift may return to shine in our hearts.

Merry Christmas, Mary!

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