*Alternate* Second Reading: Excerpts from “The Black Madonna,”
A Contemplative Liturgy from Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality

The Black Madonna is Dark and calls us to the darkness. Master Eckhart observes that “the ground of the soul is dark.” Thus, to avoid the darkness is to live superficially, cut off from one’s ground, one’s depth. The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the “inside” of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies. She encourages us to be at home there, in the presence of deep, black, unsolvable mystery. Eckhart calls God’s darkness a “super-essential darkness, a mystery behind mystery, a mystery within mystery that no light has penetrated.”

The Black Madonna calls us to our depths, including the depths of awe, wonder and delight—joy itself is a depth experience we need to re-entertain in the name of the Black Madonna. She calls us to enter into the depths of our pain, suffering and shared grief—not to run from it or cover it up. She calls us to the depths of our psyche which, as Meister Eckhart says, are “dark” and to the depths of the earth, which are surely dark and to the depths of the sky that have also been rediscovered for all their darkness.

The Black Madonna calls us to Celebrate and to Dance.  While she weeps tears for the world, as the sorrowful mother, she does not wallow in her grief, does not stay there forever. Rather, she is a joyful mother, a mother happy to be and to have shared life with so many other creatures. Like the Black Madonna, Sophia or Wisdom in the Scriptures also sings to this element of pleasure and eros, deep and passionate love of life and all its gifts.

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