Woman with a crown of twelve stars on her head.

Revelation 12:1-6A great signappeared in heaven:a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve starson her head.She was pregnant and cried out in painas she was about to give birth.Then another sign appeared in heaven:an enormous red dragonwith seven headsand ten hornsand seven crownson its heads.Its tail swept a thirdof the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her childthe moment he was born.She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched upto God and to his throne.The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Last Thursday when I was atthe mass for "The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary", as they were reading the verses (Revelation 12:1-6). I started remembering the days when I first came across this verse and my journey afterward. I was not sure how it will help others, but still I felt let me write it down.

I grew up withthe habit of readingnovels, so whenever I read a novel, my mind will take the feelings and emotions of the characters in that novel. Whatever I read keeps iterating in my mind, I keep thinking on the instances that I like in the novel etc., There has never been a day, I have spent without reading some book or the other. Sothis habitcomes quite naturally for me.

When I first started understanding the Bible, my mind as usual, used to take the form of every woman in the Bible, starting with Eve, Sarah,Hagar, Esther, Bathsheba, Deborah, Abigail, Ruth, Mary etc., My mind never had any problem imagining or correlating with any of these woman. I was so comfortable being any of these. It was all so nice and good.

One fine day I came across this woman in the Bible "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve starson her head", it was so nice to be that person, then as I read through it said "The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days."

This where my struggle started, my mind could not perceive, being in wilderness. Even after I come into Jesus, why should I be in wilderness?Because I came to Jesus to escape from the wilderness, but here it says I have to be in wilderness.I really had a tough time understanding or accepting this. I used to get dreams as though something is stopping me from reaching the baby.I talked to others to understand how other people perceive it -some people referthis as the Church which is the Bride for the Christ the Groom (and) few others itsymbolizesAssumption of the Blessed Mother (and) to few othersit symbolizes to the Birth of Jesus. Anyways, none of these seemed to solve my problem of being in wilderness. I was literally counting the days 1,260 days. When did it start and when will it end.

But slowly I started moving and progressing further in understanding the Christian life and the call to Holiness. As I was looking at the Mother Mary standing beside the Lord at the cross, my mind slowlystarted perceiving how to live through the wilderness.And as I attended the Stations of the Cross -my mind slowly perceived how to walk in the wilderness. Then I attended the Ambassadors of Mary in Chicago, there we used to be taught about the qualities of Mary - Her submission to God, Her Humbleness, Her Nothingness, Her Lowliness, etc.,

Also, I was meeting other women who were facing lots of struggles in their lives, but still holding on to Jesus. The wilderness the woman goes through for the baby is no longer a pain, it is a blessing.