|At the altar within the cave ~ Our Lady of Waiting ~ Lebanon|
Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when he had entered a house, he wanted no one to know of it, yet he could not escape notice. (Mark 7:24-25)
There follows the account of the Syrophoenician woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter burdened with demonic possession. And then verse 31
Again he went out from the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee within the region of Decapolis.
Then follows the account of the disciples bringing to Jesus the man who could neither hear nor speak.
So in these verses, Jesus is on a healing and teaching tour through the cities mentioned here which are in modern day Lebanon, north of Israel. And it is in Lebanon that there is the pilgrimage site and lovely devotion to the Virgin Mary Mantara - Our Lady of Waiting.
This is where Mary waited in a cave for Jesus to return from his journey through Tyre and Sidon. There is nothing to indicate this biblically, rather, the tradition is born of a deep human sense of relationship and maternal love.
Humans spend an awful lot of time waiting. And some of that waiting is silly or anxious:
- waiting for the waiter to return with the bill
- waiting on checkout lines
- waiting for the movie or Mass to begin
- waiting for a phone call
- waiting for the mail to be delivered or for the UPS truck
- waiting for the water to boil
- waiting for the baby to be born
- waiting for a loved one to return home safely
- waiting to hear if I got the job or not
- waiting to learn if I've been accepted into the preferred school
- waiting to hear if the raise will be forthcoming
- waiting for lab results
Finally there's a still deeper waiting:
- waiting for a sign of peace for our world
- waiting for my own (often times slow) inner growth
- waiting for an opportunity to make right a wrong
- waiting to ask forgiveness, so to begin again
- waiting to have this depression lifted
- waiting to feel the return of an alive faith
So in our meditation we might create the mental image of Mary in the cave of Lebanon - aware that Jesus is off doing what he needs to do and that she is waiting patiently in trust. Maybe Jesus was delayed, and there was of course no email, no phone, Skype, texting or TWEETING by which he could stay in touch. It was a dangerous world then, as now, so staying calm and not surrendering to negative fantasies may well have been a real challenge.
But there you have it: Our Lady of Waiting. Heaven understands!