Believing in love

This morning I read a Good Friday reflection by one of my sisters. Reflecting on Mary and the other women who stood at the foot of the cross, and on our call to contemplate the pierced Heart, she asks How can we stand, as Mary did, looking at the pierced Heart of the one who we love? This surely is a work of grace.

Bernie went on to answer her question in the next few sentences, but in that micro-second before my eyes had moved on to the next words, I knew the answer. I recalled these words, from a conference by one of our former Superior Generals, which I had prepared earlier this week for our Good Friday social media: Only those who have believed in love can direct their gaze toward the pierced Heart of Jesus... 

What does believing in love mean? It means rooting my life and my faith in a power stronger than hate: to live with hope, and the conviction that goodness can and will overcome violence and hatred, even when love seems fragile, and hope forlorn. It means to believe in the power and the promise of what happened on Calvary: a seemingly powerless, futile death which resulted in glorious new life, and a hate-filled piercing which unleashed a torrent of love. And it means to believe in redemption; that nothing is wasted, and nobody is beyond the healing, redemptive power of Love.

Without this belief, the pierced Heart of Jesus, in which we see the pierced, wounded, diseased and fragile heart of our world, would be truly unendurable. But in the strength of that belief, and that love, I can manage to direct my gaze, my heart and my energies towards it...

And then I read on: Only God can open our hearts so that we can share with Him the sufferings and hopes of humanity. Only God can give us the grace not to turn away in dismay, fear or anxiety... Contemplating Jesus gives us the courage we need to relate to people with His attitudes of humility, empathy and compassion. It is in prayer, and in action, that we come to Him with everything that touches our hearts. Only in this right relationship with God, knowing that He is vulnerable in the face of pain and woundedness, can we bear to look at the true realities of our world.

Only when we truly believe in love can we do as Mary did, and look on the One who has been pierced, and all the pain and anguish he bears...


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