Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In My End Is My Beginning

Mary, Queen of Scots
"In my end is my beginning" - the motto of Mary, Queen Scots, Catholic Queen of Scotland who lost her throne and was beheaded by her cousin, Elizabeth I of England,  in the sixteenth century.  A lesson that it is not only in our own time that the enmeshments of politics can lead to events and acts of violence that maybe neither party would have desired.

Yet there is another lesson there that has something to say to us in our generation and especially at this season, as one year ends and another begins. Whether one sympathizes with Mary of Scotland or not, she was undoubtedly a human being who sinned and made mistakes, but who also held devoutly to her faith. Her motto is something to ponder.

During the Christmas season have you ever felt a sense of material excess that didn't seem to be what Christmas was about? Did someone else seem to take the way Christmas was celebrated out of your hands and arrange things in a way you wouldn't? How did you respond?

We all have our ideas about how things should be (and maybe our way is best!) but is there a deeper level at which we can handle these questions? Can we let go of our own preferences? Even when they are good ones? Can we open ourselves sufficiently to let the Holy Spirit help us see that these superficial things don't matter? That they matter so little that, well, it would nice to get rid of them, but they're so unimportant, it doesn't matter if we can't. Can we free ourselves so we don't spend our energy on these minor irritants, but let them go so that we are not distracted within ourselves and can focus on what really matters - Christ come into the world?

"In my end is my beginning." Let me put an end to  myself and my desires and preferences as being significant. Let me see that by doing so, I can begin a richer life in Christ.

As 2014 ends, Lord, help me to put an end to caring about small things and let me begin the New Year by opening fully myself to  the glorious and eternal mystery that is You.

Karen Rose, OSB

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