When we think of the blood of Christ, we think of the unnumbered insults; the five wounds; the blood beading from the thorn incisors encircling his head
But what if, instead, we thought of the blue and red twining vessels of the umbilicus, what if we pictured the roseate and warm web of nutrients we call placenta?
Why not envision the body of Mary her autonomic brain as it was building, creating a network of feeding and growing: caring and corpuscle, healing and hemoglobin, making a mammal’s four-chambered heart, fed by the rich cake we call placenta, shaping salvation’s vascular system?
Christ’s heart took shape in Mary’s body. His blood first coursed her valves and veins. It was made with her womb’s weaving, overcast by heaven’s venture, manifest through serving love, cell by alizarin cell.
I am fearfully made and I imagine the sleek curves of my kidneys and the round red onion shape of my bladder. I will never see those parts with their perfect forms, their elegant overlaps sealed in my skin. All I know is their transparent function, or its change, or that blind nerve dance we call pain.
I will never see those long pale ropes that take my food and turn it to steps or speech. All I know is the wonder of containing such exchange, that lets the morning eggs and the noon bread rise as song in the kitchen, laughter in the back yard, rise as indignation, care, or grieving, rise as love or longing or belated thanks.
Did the blessed mother note the measure of the moon? Ancient church tradition says they came on the same day— that Gabriel’s whispered “hail” shared Golgotha’s dark noon, that her pain embraced perfection and who are we to say?
It was exquisite sorrow to have her melody become counterpoint to her son’s words arduously spoken that afternoon of agony; below she stood mute, numb, to watch his body slowly punctured, torn and broken.
How did she ponder and how could her heart sustain a moment of astonishment, an anniversary gloss, now—forlorn as vinegar; bitter balm for pain. But she would hold to his wine, hard-won from torture, loss,
his new wine of forgiveness, now soaking into sod; trusting it could endow her to forgive even her God.
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