Monday, May 26, 2008

The mourning of Christ...

Jesus, the Blessed One, mourns. Jesus mourns when his friend Lazarus dies (John 11:33-36); he mourns when he overlooks the city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed (Luke 19:41-44). Jesus mourns over all losses and devastations that fill the human heart with pain. He grieves with those who grieve and sheds tears with those who cry.

The violence, greed, lust, and so many other evils that have distorted the face of the earth and its people causes the Beloved Son of God to mourn. We too have to mourn if we hope to experience God's consolation.

with thanks to the Henri Nouwen Society

It's important to realise that the "mourning" Nouwen is calling us to can seem merely destructive, psychologically dangerous; and so it is, unless we can do something with it, and unless we are supported, loved, prayed-for, as part of a living community in Christ.

I often think that - apart from the obvious necessity for anyone called to the contemplative or intercessory ways of prayer to be members of a church where they can feel at home - this is one of the most important reasons for joining a religious order as a tertiary, or oblate, or companion, or whatever term the order you find yourself called to uses.

Maggie Ross said:

Even something as simple as refusing to anesthetize the gnawing pain in the pit of your soul that is a resonance of the pain of the human condition is a form of habitual intercession. To bear this pain into the silence is to bring it into the open place of God’s infinite mercy. It is in our very wounds that we find the solitude and openness of our re-creation and our being. We learn to go to the heart of pain to find God’s new life, hope, possibility, and joy. This is the priestly task of our baptism.

I am continually struck by that last sentence. Our mourning with Christ for the brokenness of creation lies at the very heart of our being Christian. It is his tears we weep, his grief that aches within us, and it is to him we must turn in our grieving. He is our refuge, our Saviour, our sanity; but it is only through our entering into his pain that he can become refuge, Saviour and sanity for those for whom we grieve (see Romans 8.18-27, yet again - and see also John 17.20-26).


Anonymous said...

I love both these quotes.

"We learn to go to the heart of pain to find God’s new life, hope, possibility, and joy." I am barely beginning to learn this; I'm still at the point where I think, I hope it's true.

Thank you, again.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This idea is too big for me to take in yet, but maybe I will get there in time. I am still learning to trust him to sit with me in my pain (in fact, that is the subject of my post for tomorrow). To sit with him in sorrow over the world's pain? Well, I have felt twinges of that at times, but not often. Yet as I type, a new thought comes to me. If I need sympathetic companionship when I hurt, why should it surprise me that God desires the same?