Here we go again!
Sunday, 15th April 2018
That’s what I felt like saying when we celebrated the Annunciation on Monday last and began again the round of Jesus’ life from conception to crib, cross and resurrection. How often we’ve done that! It’s repetitive but not boring because it’s never the same and we’re never the same and hopefully, as the years roll by, we can enter more and more into the mystery of it all. We may think our lives are humdrum and ordinary and forget that Mary’s life was humdrum too and quiet most of the time and would probably have looked boring to the casual observer. Nobody could have seen how extraordinary that ordinary life really was – even her next – door neighbours or her extended family. They wouldn’t have been writing about her in the local paper if they had a local paper or interviewing her on T.V. if they had T.V.
Thomas a Kempis wrote the famous book called ‘The Imitation of Christ’ and in it he said we should “enjoy being unknown and regarded as nothing.” Enjoy being unknown? What that means is being able to keep going through our ordinary every day lives, not needing the oxygen of recognition and praise, but doing good things that are seen by God alone. Most of us, if we were blessed with good parents, started life as the centre of the universe! All our smiles and tears were noticed and responded to! You could say it was our first addictive experience and after that, it was hard to get used to being just one of a family, or later one of a whole class or school and hardly noticed. I know I tossed my sister out of my pram and was never let forget it. And she, in her turn, tossed my young brother out of his/hers! I remember too, hearing about Hannah aged 9, who scolded her brother Adam, aged 7 like this: “Adam, life is not all about you, you know!” and he replied, “Yes I know, I know, but it was before Mia arrived!” Which shows he did know he was the centre of attention up to then.
We know, too, there are people, like some celebrities, as we call them, who never recover from this baby addiction to being the centre of attention. It seems like oxygen they desperately need. They can’t survive without notice and applause and spend all their energies looking for it. On the other hand, it was said of one man that the only applause he needed was applause from his own conscience. That’s good, isn’t it? It’s good to remember, too, that Jesus, apart from his last three years, lived a quiet hidden life, and Mary lived a mostly quiet life, cooking and cleaning and looking after the hens! And that is where most of the good in this world is done, by parents and carers and all who keep going through the unnoticed daily round of working, loving, and doing the best they can.