The Birth of God
(A meditation on Luke 1:26–38) The master sat with his students around a fire. Over the flickering flames, they began to ask him questions.
“You have told us that God must be born inside of us,” said one. “How do we accomplish this?”
“I will answer you by telling you the story of God’s birth and his mother, for she is the model of the mystic. In the mystical journey, each of us approaches God as a virgin maiden. The wombs of our souls are empty. We must receive the life of God from on high. We must open ourselves to receive him.”
“What was the maiden’s name?” Asked a student.
“’Miryam’ (or ‘Mary’), which means ‘bitterness’.” Said the master. “Bitterness is indeed the state of each of our small, independent selves – for we seem cut off from God and from each other. Bitter is the fruit of our apparent separation – for we seem completely powerless to save ourselves from our exile. But in this bitterness, a messenger appeared to her – Gabriel, the strength of God. In our weakness, God is strong.”
“Must we wait for an angel to bring God to us?” Asked his students.
“Remember,” said the master “that an ‘angel’ is simply a messenger of God. Whatever way God uses to reveal himself to you is his angel. I am his angel. This story is his angel. And this angel hailed her strangely. He did not use her name, “bitterness”, but instead saluted her by the name ‘hail, full of grace’. He told her that God was already with her. Such is the message of God to your soul. You are favored. God already dwells in you. God’s grace is already with you.”
“Didn’t this confuse her?” inquired one, “When all she could see within her was her own emptiness?”
“To begin to feel the opening of the soul to God is confusing and frightening” agreed the master. “For he shatters our previous concepts, our expectations. We begin to doubt our old ways, our old thoughts and beliefs. We doubt ourselves. And that is good, because our small selves have nothing to do with bringing forth God in the soul. So the angel quieted Mary’s fears, and told her God would conceive a son in her, and she would call him ‘God saves’ and that he would rule over all things. For God intends dethrone the small self from its lordship over our being, and replace it with the kingship of the Godlife. The Godlife rules within us from an eternal perspective. It is not bound by the considerations of time or place. The Godlife saves us from the tyranny of the small self.”
“What did Mary need to do to bring this about?” Asked a student.
“Mary still clung to confusion about the origin of the Godlife” said the master. “She insisted to the angel that she was a virgin. As are we all in the spirit, for nothing of the material world, the small self, or the reality bound to space and time will cause the divine conception in us. The angel explained that the Divine Spirit would come upon her and the power of God overshadow her. Because of this, the life within her would be the Godlife – for the Godlife overshadows our small selves. No man is the father of the Godlife. No guru, priest or master. God alone brings forth his life in us.
“But are not you our master?” asked a student with concern. “Do you not bring about the birth of God in us?”
“Not my small self,” replied the master with intensity. “The Godlife in me speaks to the Godlife in you. My own small self has no part of it. Between those who have this life in them, there arises a communication and a unity beyond words. So, when the angel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth also carried a miraculous child, the desire began to rise up in her to visit Elizabeth, so that the Godlife they shared could commune with itself.”
“I’m still confused,” insisted an older student hesitantly. “Mary is not aware of God within her. The angel explains that nothing she can do will bring the Godlife. She is told no human being can bring her the Godlife. So what does she DO?”
The master’s voice lowered to a whisper to emphasize his words – “Not what she does, but what she does NOT do. Mary responds to the angel of God with the only truly perfect thing the small self can say. ‘I am God’s slave. I put my small self entirely at the disposal of the Godlife. Be it done to me according to his will.’ Not by doing, but by a surrender from doing, Mary becomes the perfect mystic. The Godlife begins to shine in her with perfect brightness. Not all at once- nor in its adult manifestation. But it begins to grow with rapidity. So likewise, you who hear my voice feel the stirrings of life within you.”