The power of love

A few weeks ago I was involved in an incident in which someone behaving with aggression and malice was countered by a young Christian man armed only with the power of goodness. Each outburst was met and somehow quietly overcome by nothing more than firm yet gentle patient love. It was a potent experience and demonstration of the power of love; one that made a deep impression on all of us who were there.

Reflecting on that experience brought me to an event we commemorate today; one which is central to the Society and my identity and being-RSCJ - the piercing of Jesus' Heart. It is an act of savage, gratuitous violence. And yet... through that very act of unnecessary cruelty Jesus' Heart is opened, never to close, releasing an abundant torrent of pure, redemptive love, a wellspring that will never dry up. God's generous, self-giving love pours forth from a Heart wounded by sin - but not overcome. Instead, it is hatred which is somehow overcome, lost, washed, in the mighty flow of love its own violence has unwittingly unleashed.

Two weeks ago I saw, very tangibly, someone's attempts to wound and hurt through words and gestures unwittingly release an even greater outpouring of love. I saw provocative aggression somehow bringing out a power greater than itself, somehow overcome by that power, without any show of physical strength. I saw the power of love; the quiet, gentle yet mighty, death-conquering love we receive from Jesus and commemorate today.

Last night, with great sadness, I heard of the hate-fuelled murder of Christian students in an attack in Kenya. As I journey with Jesus to Calvary, and prepare to recall his death, I pray that in some way this act of savagery will also lead to an even stronger torrent of love; that death and violence will not be the end. Here too, may hatred somehow be lost in an even more powerful flow of love.