violette

violette
Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Glorious signs of God's love

Several years ago, after my parents' deaths, I found myself reflecting at Easter on Jesus' glorious wounds. Some of the fruits of this reflection appeared in my Easter blogpost from two years ago (here), and came back to me last week on Easter Sunday when we were reflecting and sharing in community. Then, a few days ago when I met my spiritual director, she also made some reference to these wounds... and now, today, they are central to the homily delivered by Pope Francis at the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II (here).

In my post I wrote I love the fact that the Risen Jesus chose to keep his wounds: in all his glory, he still remains indelibly scarred, and by his wounds he is known. The difference, though, is that through the Resurrection his wounds have now been transformed and made glorious. Pain and woundedness have not been eliminated, but they have been redeemed. And so it is for us...

Pope Francis takes this reflection to another depth, when he says The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith.  That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us.  They are essential for believing in God.  Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness.  Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).

Wounds which are signs not only of redemption and healing, but of God's infinite love... And - significantly - that quote from Isaiah is very dear to me, as it was the devise (motto) given to my group just before we made our final profession of vows. So now I hear by his wounds, by the enduring sign of his love you have been healed... And as I reflect on this homily, I experience a very real sense of being drawn deeper and deeper into this mystery, centred on love, in which there is a wholeness and a call waiting to be explored at more depth. 

There is a promise too. The Pope said of his predecessors: In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8).  The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. And so for me, and for all who are called to gaze on their woundedness through the glorious wounds of Christ, there is that promise and that certainty of the grace of an indescribable and enduring joy...

It's been a long time since I last created a Wordle, but here's one of the text of Pope Francis' homily. The larger the word, the more it featured... but take a close look, and see what else you can see, beyond the wounds...



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