on embracing the male

following the invitation (and with a gift from a friend), i went directly from being
immersed in julian to spending time with mechthild.  i think that my friend and
i both thought i would be drawn into her love mysticism, because god has come to
me a lover in such a life-giving way. surprisingly though, that isn’t what
touched me me at all,
other than to re-member me to those ‘falling in love’ days of healing physical
with god. rather, it was these 2 obscure, usually overlooked images in her
vision of a wounded lamb taken from the altar and laid inside the manger of a
maiden’s body to suckle from her heart, and an image of  heaven with the
lactating mary on one side of god/the bleeding christ on the other. it seems
these are re-membering me to something deeper still.
indeed, mechthild’s love mysticism had drawn me to my old journals and gifted me
with an honoring and affirming of the way i had been loved and healed. often i
have wondered about those days..was i merely so emotionally needy, so wounded
as to create this fantasy from my imagination. as i was searching the pages,
remembering the intensity feelings and experiences, from which i often ran away
in fear, i came upon an experience i had forgotten about, the intensity of which
felt more powerful and palpable than the others. it was an instance of
re-entering a place in which i had been profoundly wounded and experiencing an
intense feeling of the sacred… in the same place, at the same time, there was
deep, deep anguish and overwhelming love. as i re-read this moment, i found
myself weeping unexpectedly, involuntarily, with the same feelings of pain and
love overflowing. the tears were somehow of deep grief and ecstatic joy at

the experience is so intense when god flashes godself to you this way, i think i
understand the falling to your knees, the awe, the ‘fear of god’, the need to
turn away from it. occasionally we catch a glimpse, some moment of profound
awareness of the sacred in a moment of profanity, it is as if the eternity
opens and you catch a glimpse in time.

it was suggested to me that perhaps i might want to spend some time at the cross
with this….yes, it is there, the same feeling of intense sacredness and
intense profanity, overwhelming love and pain, humanity and divinity, blood and
milk in the same drop, and the earth shook as have i. the awareness is perhaps
hinted at by
the word compassion….pain and love in the same place. the beauty of the
breaking open heart in the pieta.

this is julian’s vision after all, the blood and water gushing from the wound
looks like a birthing womb, christ’s anguished face is filled with joy. this is
mechthilds words ‘you cannot be whole until you embrace the self-same love that
wounded you’. it is  her vision of heaven/god with mary on one side of god, her
breasts overflowing with milk,
christ on the other, his wounds flowing with blood. (later, she sees the wound
covered with a rose petal, the color of love). this is julian saying that the
tiny glimpses we experience of oneing, wholeness, healing in this
lifetime….those moments when the wound is recognized as the blessing, when
all is embraced as one, or those moments when you look back on your life and
know that all was of god, those tiny glimpses of partial healing reveal a
sliver of the wholeness that truly is, the oneness that is, the healing that we
will oneday see.

but oh the sliver is so intense, how overwhelmingly terribly beautiful must be
the whole. what god must be!

i am gushing, i know

..at the way each one of us eats the flesh and drinks the blood of christ in
this holy, holy experience of life.

and then there is this strange image of mechthild’s and the suckling lamb, for
there is this parallel experience in me, the deep sense that as we are being
opened and healed, our souls fed and grown in love, we are also somehow giving
the same nurture to god. i have had these moments in the love mysticism journey
that god has taken me on, where god turns the tables and asks of me
something….and here i cannot express without slipping into male
god-language–he asks me to hold him in his pain as i have been held, or to let
me be the place where he is received, embraced, loved as he is, as i have been
received, embraced, loved wholly by him, he asks me to let him nuzzle at my
breast, to drink from my tenderness……

when this first started happening i understood it to be a way in which god was
revealing to me compassion, for god’s lament was great for the ways that i had
suffered. his beseeching in those days was for mutual compassion for him, an
impotent one who had imagined the world into being but had unable to stop it
from falling into this pain-filled existence. later i was asked to take god
into my mouth and bring him back to life….

lately, i notice that each time god comes to me this way, bearing his
great need, needing me to love him, comfort him, feed him… receive him, to be
a place of unconditional love and acceptance, or after a profound experience of
oneness…those moments when the sliver opens and the wholeness of god within it
all…sacred and profane …. is revealed, that without fail i am greeted the
next day with images of intense violence…i remember
the first time it happened to me was be-headings, once it was a film depicting
intense human
suffering unresolved…not redemptive ending in that one, this last time when i
came home, my son was watching ‘saving private ryan’. i was greeted with the
image of humanity bleeding,washed up on the beach of normandy. this love god
asks of me feels big….as frightening as the love i felt from god in those
early days of running from the intensity of the experience of being loved.

(it feels like a repeated request, it is as if god is
asking me again and again…can you love me here? and the ‘can you love me
here?” is a request to go out of myself and receive, heal, love the god i meet
in life. and to my running away each time, god says, ‘ok, when you’re ready’
i suspect these experiences of the wounded god needing me to love him as he
comes to me have something to do with the wounded, dying, imprisoned male dreams. in the dreams i am often trying to save them, bring them back to life, etc. i wonder what in me is so wounded, so as to want to return to prison rather than be ‘out there’)

oh the ache, the overwhelming ineffable ‘how is it that god is loving
us for our sakes and we are loving god for god’s sake in the exact same
breath’?, no, not even as separable as that, for that is to say that there are
2 halves, one belonging to the inflow, one with the exhale. how to name the
understanding that we are being fed as we are feeding, how to express the
mutual need of god. how is it that it is all here within each moment…..this
wholeness, oneness of it all.

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