Stay with me

The other day I changed the cover photo on our Province's Facebook page in time for the Easter Triduum. I opted for this image*, which has been used at times in the Society for several years. It's a favourite of mine, speaking powerfully of an abundance of tenderness, of self-transcending, compassionate love, and of Christ's pierced Heart as the source of all healing and hope.

Yesterday someone commented on it, saying that it reminded her of the Water of Life sculpture in the cloister garden of Chester Cathedral, depicting Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. And indeed, there is something of the same sweep and movement in both; a mirroring of oneness and cupped hands and physicality. There is a parallel intimacy and intensity, tenderness and care... and, of course, at the heart of each, flow streams of living water.

I first encountered Water of Life during a retreat several years ago. I was struck by the intensity and the strong, loving focus, and the way Jesus' hands seemed to grip those of the woman. Stay with me, I heard him say, and experienced this as a strong call to deeper, prolonged prayer. And now, sitting where I can see my copy of Water of Life just beyond my laptop, but with this Good Friday image almost superimposed, I hear stay with me again: quietly, insistently, compellingly.

Stay with me - words we normally associate with Maundy Thursday; words we might even sing, softly, as we prepare to spend time in prayer. But this is different: this is the 'staying with' which lies at the heart of the grace of the Third Week of the Exercises; a 'staying with' which is a 'being with', in increasing closeness and compassion, throughout Jesus' Passion. Not because of the joy his presence brings, or the healing or consolation he can give, but simply, purely, out of love: because now it is Jesus who needs healing and consolation; because, for his lover, there is nowhere else they can conceivably want to be.

Stay with me, Jesus says, in this darkness and pain, in injustice, loneliness and heartbreak. And then stay with me... in those who are suffering, lost and lonely, in those who hunger at so many levels, in the vulnerable and marginalised, in those who are scapegoated or cast aside. Stay with them, precisely because you already stay with me.

* Believed to be by Swiss Dominican Sr Caritas Muller de Cazis.


  1. stunning and so timely. I really needed this and of course found it when I needed it most. Thanks so much and blessings!


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