‘Maria Nostra Speranza'
For Erica Louise Stones
and her loving mother,
Man says, ‘The light in here is not so good and my eyes are heavy’.
It is a place called ‘Refuge’.
Maria Nostra Speranza steps into the space.
Man says ‘You are near. Now’.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'I can help with stillness. Trust, be humble. Allow your soul to return to tranquility again'.
Man says, 'I guess you were the only one who saw the bigger picture'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'Truth is Love and Love is sometimes deep Pain, but it is in our Return to God that we are shaped by Him'
Man says, 'Sometimes I can't move or mobilise. I despise the world, where it might be leading us'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says to Man, ‘Then look beyond the world and act as though it is a transient and a passing sphere. Reach in spirit for the highest order and come to see the rebirth of the world in your own heart and your own soul'.
Man says, 'That’s some responsibility. What can we, as merely men, know of birth and of rebirth anyway?'
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'You can learn and apply what you have learnt, from the mothers around you at any one moment. You can choose to enter their experiences, or not. You can relate your own lives to Truth, to Love and to Pain. Man must conquer by a lifelong vision of rebirth or rediscovery, not a momentary glance in that direction, followed again only by a clasping to the ways of the world'.
Man says, 'Sometimes I glance at the Cross. You must see it so differently'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'I don’t see it....I am it. It is part of my story. It’s not an added extra'.
Man says, 'Then can it be part of my story? I once envisioned you, many years back. Your entangled black hair covered an ever youthful face, your dark skinned complexion. You appeared so clear to me, at the reception of a hospital, some time ago. It was at an A&E unit of a major city hospital. You wore 'Marian' on your name badge....but it was you....wasn't it?'
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'I've worked in most jobs. I am a woman and women are my story. Does that surprise you?'
Man says, 'I have so much to learn. Even more, to understand. Here, many of us see prayer as an irrelevance, a dated practice. And the little one really does in prayer is to ask solely for the things for which we desire. And then we devise the best path to secure our wishes with the remainder of our time. Men, us men, are naturally going to miss much'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'I can help you with that. Take a lantern into the darkest night, into the remotest region. It will not be enough. Something else must steer you through to a point that you recognise and so where you can rest again. The lamp only burns for as long as one has 'faith'. That is what my child asked of you....and still does.....to embrace a malleable, yet an unceasing force. And before he asked it of you, it was asked of me'.
Man says, 'And you answered. That changed everything'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'Who helped me answer? Do you know the Psalmist when he writes of 'the pit'? Who do you think pulled me out…..when Eternity took over my entire purpose and made such unforeseen physical demands on my life.....on the course of my whole life?'
Man says, 'Who pulled you out??'
Maria Nostra Speranza says to Man, 'You think it was God alone? Here I will tell you. It was the model of my own mother. Of how womanhood can shift the balance of power, how it can stand for a Truth and amid real Fear and Pain, how it can frame a new 'sphere' for those with the courage to embrace it. For the male is not like the female. It was God who pulled me out, but it was not the God who dictates and burdens, but the God who invites and the God that invites us from within. From within the riches of our precious experience’.
Maria Nostra Speranza steps out of the space.
Man creeps forward.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, ‘Look again for God, the God that draws close the sincere hopes of our mothers. A compassionate presence, right there, when Man cannot move or when Man cannot mobilise. That is why you met me at the reception of the hospital, the beginning of a journey in empathy and connection. It is over to you, to women and to men. You are tired, I see. Yes. It is a binding and demanding search, but one that helps transform the world in little ways by a hard fought faith’.
Man says, 'Only in moments, in brief moments of strength, have I felt that you are present and listening....full of grace'.
Maria Nostra Speranza says, 'Yes. I am familiar with that phrase, and prayer should never be too repetitious. The little counts. You can always meet me and share something of my life. In sunrise and in sunset, in the unwinding of the mind and all you so become. In the return of the soul to tranquillity. When you see the child and the mother at their best, united’.
Man says, 'Gratitude does not sit so easy amidst my history. Yet, I cannot thank you enough. I wish I had held such strength and conviction over the course of my life. I do thank you….’Marian’. I do thank you…Mary'.
Maria de Esperanza says, 'You hold Truth, Love and Pain....but often, it is without an eye on the Eternal pattern of precious life, on how these threads are intricately and delicately woven. They present only a picture to you that is jumbled up! Faith enhances the picture. Think of how Light reveals the hidden, how it magnifies beauty and presence. Every seemingly confused human picture can be restored. You are Man, and you carry that gift. I must go now. We all need some ‘Marian’ support from time to time and I must get out to others on this vast A &E ward. Keep strong and faithful. I shall be close’.
Man says, ‘Yes...I shall try. Life here should not be the same again'.
Maria Nostra Speranza vanishes from the space.
Man says, ‘Let it be so'.
The light is brighter. Weightless.
It is a place called ‘Refuge’.