Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

May 6, 2009

On Fire, Unconsumed

I was perusing a blog a few days ago called Alive and Young and I came across this article about a typology of Mary as the Unburnt Bush. This typology of course hearkens us to the story of Moses to Exodus 3:2 where God speaks through a bush that was "burning, yet not consumed."

The author of Alive and Young cites another website explaining the following:
The Church has always regarded the Unburnt Bush on Horeb as a type of the Most Holy Theotokos giving birth to the Savior Christ, while remaining a Virgin. This imagery is to be found in the Church's hymnography (for example, the Dogmatikon at Saturday Vespers in Tone 2), and also in iconography.

One of the earliest depictions of the Mother of God as the Unburnt Bush shows her holding her divine Son in the midst of a burning bush. Moses is shown to one side, removing his sandals, for that place was holy (Ex. 3:5).
I found this a very profound typology -- and upon reflection, I began to think about what this might mean. I thought about Mary's purity and Immaculate Heart. She is pure, holy, totally for God; this is why she is Mother of God and Perpetual Virgin.

What about purity in our lives? One of the most necessary beatitudes for our time is Mt. 5:8 "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." Only the pure will see God. Yet how many people are consumed by impurity. There's the operative word: consumed. I see this point particularly poignant with lust. Just think about it. Lust fades -- it is consumed and we are consumed by it. But it goes for all sin -- lust, impurity, anger, hatred -- essentially all that is not holy literally will consume us.

But consider Mary as the unconsumed bush. She is on fire -- literally -- with the love of God. In her glorious song to God, she bursts forth "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Lk 1: 46-47). Mary lived her whole life totally trusting God in faith, hope, and love. And her love is never consumed, for it is God who lives in her and with her.

Oh Mary, teach us to love with an unconsumed love, so that we like you will love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole might. And obtain for the graces to be pure of heart, so that we, with you, shall see God.

1 comment:

Margaret Perry said...

That is an AMAZING icon. Thanks for this, Edith!

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