The Motherly Spirit

We must learn from Mary, the mother of Jesus, to hear the Word and believe it. Her motherly spirit teaches us to rejoice and serve in the humblest places.

From the Christmas gospel we know how Mary, with a childlike faith, received the Word, and in this way the incarnation of the eternal spirit came about. In the time of the early Christians, too, we hear about this faith. May we grasp this mystery with the faith of the heart. For the mind alone can never penetrate these things. It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. We have to stand before God’s secret with reverent awe and experience in our own lives this miracle of the incarnation.

Let Mary, the mother of Jesus, teach us to become more childlike. For Mary is the image of the heavenly life-giving mother, the church. Again and again we have to receive in our hearts this heavenly virgin – the motherly, womanly spirit of the church community, the Jerusalem above, the power of the church as it is living now. It is not that we simply become the heavenly church, but that we receive it in its perfection. The more we receive the life-giving strength of the bride of Christ, the more we shall radiate in our lives – however weak we are – the wonderful unity that came from the birth of Jesus.

Mary was sealed with the Holy Spirit as soon as she believed. In this way the Word took on human nature from her. Through Mary’s simple faith she received the Spirit and thus conceived Christ, and he was born of her. Those who want to be reborn must, like Mary, first hear the Word and then believe it. And then, in the humility of Jesus and of Mary, we must learn to occupy the most modest human place in loving, devoted long-suffering and in the freedom of joy.

Those who would be born of God must be mindful of how Christ’s birth took place. All birth from God happens as it did with Christ. When the Word is heard and when it is received, then faith is sealed with the Holy Spirit. This Spirit renews every person and makes us alive in God’s justice. We become a new creature, a new creation.

Adapted from When the Time was Fulfilled (Walden, NY: Plough, 2011).

Article edited for length and clarity. The original documents can be read in our digital archive. This article comprises selections from: meeting transcript, July 2, 1933; and Inner Land, vol. 5, The Living Word (Walden, NY: Plough, 2021), 78.