But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
It is an unexplored history. The sublimest results often are in the child, and yet not a step can we trace with definiteness backward to know the cause of which this is the little effect. The future beams with revelations in its behalf; but of the particles which go to make it up who can guess? Who knows anything about it? The great Sphinx — standing alone in Egypt half-buried in the sand — what mind conceived that? what hand carved it? what has it to say for itself? or who shall speak for it? Yet every cradle has a sphinx more unreadable and mysterious than the old Sphinx of the desert. It is chiefly this future over which parents brood. A mother's heart is a miracle. She sees what is not there. She creates what she sees and recreates it when a breath blows it all away. She loves what has no lovable quality. The child is a mere prophecy. These feet shall yet walk, but not now. These eyes shall beam, but now they sleep. These hands shall work, or caress, or carve, or carry the sword, but they are helpless now. "She kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" is true of every Mary, and of every other name by which the mother is known. She ponders the miracle of the babe, and is herself another miracle creating the life which is to come, and which is purely the myth of her imagination. The things spoken by the angels and the shepherds of the Messiah, the mother of Jesus pondered, and every mother is a Mary, and ponders the little traveller knocking at the door of life or sleeping in the hospitable cradle. The unwritten poetry of a mother's heart would give to the world a literature beyond all printed words.
(H. F. Beecher.)
THE VIRGIN MARY TO THE CHILD JESUS,
Sleep, sleep, mine Holy One!
My flesh, my Lord I what name?
I do not know A name that seemeth not too high or low,
Too far from me or heaven.
My Jesus, that is best I that word being given
By the majestic angel whose command
Was softly as a man's beseeching said,
When I and all the earth appeared to stand
In the great overflow.
A light celestial from his wings and head
Sleep, sleep, my saving One.
The slumber of His lips meseems to run
Through my lips to mine heart.
And then the drear sharp tongue of prophecy
With the dread sense of things which shall be done,
Doth smite me inly, like a sword.
(Mrs. E. B. Browning.)
THE MOTHER MARY.
Mary, to thee the heart was given,
For infant hands to hold,
Thus clasping, an eternal heaven,
The great earth in its fold.
He came, all helpless, to thy power,
For warmth, and love, and birth;
In thy embraces, every hour
He grew into the earth.
And thine the grief, O mother high,
Which all thy sisters share,
Who keep the gate betwixt the sky
And this our lower air.
And unshared sorrows, gathering slow;
New thoughts within thy heart,
Which through thee like a sword will go,
And make thee mourn apart.
For, if a woman bore a son
That was of angel-brood,
Who lifted wings ere day was done,
And soared from where he stood;
Strange grief would fill each mother-moan,
Wild longing, dim and sore;
"My child! my child I He is my own,
And yet is mine no more."
So thou, O Mary, years on years,
From child-birth to the cross,
Wast filled with yearnings, filled with fears,
Keen sense of love and loss.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.