Thursday, May 10, 2007

"The glory of the crucified..."

Kathryn, at Good in Parts, quotes Fr Rick, quoting ++Michael Ramsey (!):

"In your service of others, you will feel, you will care, you will be hurt, you will have your heart broken. It is doubtful if any of us can do anything at all until we have been very much hurt, and until our hearts have been very much broken. And this is because God’s gift to us is the glory of the crucified - being sensitive to the pain and sorrow that exists in so much of the world."

She reminded me, yet again, of the words of St Isaac of Nineveh, the solitary, and sometime reluctant Bishop, of the 7th century AD. I've quoted these in this blog before, but I don't suppose this is the last time either...

An elder was once asked, "What is a merciful heart?" He replied:

"It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation.

For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns with without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God."

The Antiphon in our own Franciscan Third Order Office, quoting Galatians 6:14, says it in a slightly different way, but it amounts to the same thing:

"Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world."

Sometimes I feel like the the folk Kathryn is thinking of when she describes her group at the Cathedral, who might feel more than a bit worried at the use of ++Michael's quote as a marketing gambit. At our LPA Commissioning last night, I had the same thought. I hadn't read Kathryn's post then, but I thought, for the nth time, "What am I getting myself into?" (Actually, it's more like, "Letting myself be gotten into," but you get the drift...)

Perhaps my question's just been answered...

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