This Heart, opened when it was pierced, has remained open, enduringly, widely so, in welcome and acceptance. This is a Heart which is open to all: there are no border controls, because here there are no undesirables; no "them" and "us" or different levels of belonging. But this Heart is also open because it has been wounded - it is the original "wounded healer", full of tenderness and compassion. The mystery of Christ's open side holds within it not just his own suffering, but the suffering and hope of all humanity.
And this Heart is also my unique identity within the Society, shared with twelve other women from eleven countries. Fifteen years ago we prepared together for our perpetual vows. A few days before our programme ended, as per a long-standing Society tradition, we were given a group name and devise (motto) by the Superior General, setting a seal on our communal experience and calling each one and the group into her new identity as a professed RSCJ.
Inevitably, this is preceded by anticipation and speculation - this new identity, this call within a call, really does matter! And somehow, through some mysterious process, the Spirit ensures that what we get is just right; not just for a few of the group, not just for that moment, but for all of us, for the years and decades to come. Sometimes the devise will resonate more with someone than her name; invariably, too, each person will grow and develop into her own insights and understanding of what they call her to.
|Heart-Cross by Manfred Bugl, |
image given to us to accompany our new name and devise
This pierced Heart, wounded yet pouring forth life-giving, healing love, is the source of all my hope; this same Heart, open and welcoming, is the centre not just of who I am, but how I see and feel and respond. It is with and from this Heart that I feel pain and anger whenever I see cruelty and exclusion; with it, too, that I respond, whether in prayer or action. And it is back to this Heart that I come, time and again, bringing all that is broken and wounded in our world - and in myself.
Lord, to whom [else] could we go? asked Simon Peter somewhat rhetorically; likewise, to where else could I bring all this brokenness and fragility, if not to the Open and Welcoming Heart, through whose wounds we are all healed...?