Mary’s warming hand

I was totally distracted.

It was at a conference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics in the Northern Territory. In the evening it was cool. A big outside fire was lit. We were all standing around it and talking.

A wonderful Aboriginal mother was talking to me. She was holding her little baby. But the baby was restless and crying. The mother could see her child was cold.

Whilst she was talking to me, she began to hold the palm of her hand out in the direction of the fire. Once her palm was warm she then started rubbing lovingly the palm of her hand over the body of her child. She repeated this many times. After a while, the baby stop crying, became settled and eventually started sleeping peacefully in the arms of Mum.

It was a beautiful experience to witness. I found myself quite distracted with our conversation. I was more absorbed with the interaction between Mum and her child.

Theological “bells” were ringing for me.

The Aboriginal mother reminded me of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us in the Church. She loves us and leads us always to Jesus.

The big fire reminded me of the love of God made present in Jesus. I thought of the Easter Vigil when we are gathered around the Easter fire. We hear that the Holy Spirit, “melts the frozen, warms the chill.”

The child reminded me of all humanity, especially the restless, the poor, the abandoned, and those with mental or emotional challenges.

And there is Mary constantly interceding for us in our many needs. Warmed by the fire of God’s love, she passes this warmth onto us. We became stilled and at peace in the sure knowledge that we are loved by the God of all love.

In time, we are then able to do the same and reach out to others in need, especially in our marriages and family lives.

Let us be like Mary – to be warmed by Divine Fire so as to give this warmth to the world.