Sunday Gospel Reflection for February 2
The following is an excerpt from Cora Evans’ work, The Refugee from Heaven, selected as a reflection for the Sunday Gospel reading, Luke 2:22 - 40.
Holding her close to His heart, the Master could only say, “Mother.” Then, in a low whisper He continued, “I have never refused you a request and I shall not refuse you this one. In order that you may understand loss and suffering, I will give you My Human Heart, which is known as My Second Nature, and in exchange, I will take your heart to Myself in spirit. This exchange will be known to My other friends through the ages as the mystical exchange of hearts, or mystical marriage, complete union. This can only be given to soul and spirit through the beautiful sleep of ecstasy and its mystery, which is death to the soul before actual death to the body. But because you have always been sinless you will never die in body as My other friends must taste death. Other friends who receive this exchange of hearts will know that life, in its sense of reality through this miracle of being confirmed in grace, is nothing more than suspension, and the body will act as a puppet in the mind of God. Life will be an act to win souls as I have done in My Second Nature. However, all that they do will not seem perfect in the mind of man anymore than I was considered perfect when I picked up the whip and drove the money-changers from the temple.
“The life of suspension will be the greatest of martyrdoms, and I will choose friends to live it from every state of life and in all ages of time. From now until the end of time, a few of My friends will enjoy this particular gift that they may become sharers in the redemption. Through it they will know in themselves the torments of man's infliction of wounds upon the Son of God in His Humanity. It will be known in them as the indwelling knowledge.”
Suddenly, in that holy embrace of Jesus, Mary appeared as a great flame of fire reposing in the furnace of His heart. Mystically the exchange of hearts took place and from that moment Mother Mary could understand and feel the keenness of pain as only her Son understood the awfulness of sin. Had He not taken the effects of sin upon Himself? And from that wondrous exchange she knew the deeper mystery of His indwelling within her. Thus would He never die to the world, but would continue to share through her and His friends in the great mystery of the exchange of hearts.
In that most sublime moment, Mother Mary's request to die for Jesus had mystically been granted. There in a vision before her soul's eye, as if it were a picture transfixed over the valley of Gethsemane, she watched the crucifixion as it would take place in reality the next day. With a smile she recalled the prophecy of Simeon, who had told her that her heart would be pierced with a sword. Now before her, in anticipated vision, she watched the soldier, with his spear, pierce her heart in Jesus.
For the first time in her life she felt pain. She understood its terrible meaning and depths deeply as only Jesus could understand. What a shock was this suddenness of pain to one who had never before felt its pang, or want, or misery. She trembled with fear within the embrace of her Son.
Jesus asked, “Mother, are you trembling because you fear that now you know suffering you will not be able to stand the actual events of the crucifixion?”
Mother Mary nodded. “Now I know it is indeed a sorrow to part with You,” she answered.
“How real a mother's tears are when in anguish she prays, ‘God, let me die that this child may live.’”
“The hour we have often talked about has come,” Jesus continued softly, “and I know that even though you feel pain you will be courageous. Offer no restraint tomorrow against the angry crowds. I am asking you to do this in obedience, for I am the High Priest. Now that you have the natural instincts of a mother's heart, you will no doubt want to plead for My life with My other friends. When those thoughts arise, remember obedience, and you will find new strength and courage. Now, while I go to pray, it is My desire that you rest and sleep because I will need your smile and words of courage tomorrow.”