Monday, October 10, 2005

Rivers of blood, oceans of tears

Not to sure which emotion is prevailing today: a type of frustrated anger or deep grief!

Certainly I confess to You O Lord I sure wish You’d do something about the rivers of blood from earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, war, terrorism, abortion, murder, domestic violence, abuse of children, the tragedies in places like Dafur where women and children are victims of so-called men who actually are cowardly persons who have abandoned the prime reality of authentic manhood: protector.

Your whole world, all of Your human children, we’ve gone completely nuts.

I just don’t get why You don’t staunch the rivers of blood, which surely cry out to You louder even than that of Abel, or why You don’t dry the oceans of tears, there being more thousands of mothers weeping louder than Rachel ever did over her children, for she was one voice, they are a chorus of thousands upon thousands.

We read in Wisdom the question which confronts the limitations of mere creatures standing before You: For what man knows God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?  {Ws. 9:13}

Isaiah too poses a similar question, a challenge really to our need to “know”: Who has directed the spirit of the Lord or has instructed Him as His counsellor? {Is.40:13}

Yes I confess I often forget true wisdom when I see what appears cruel and incomprehensible.

I can grant that abortion, murder, terrorism, abuse, addictions, domestic violence, hatred, war – these are things we human beings deliberately and evilly do to one another.

It is a betrayal and abuse of Your gift to us of free will.

[However having said that even as a priest I confess it is more difficult to accept abuse of an innocent child than a couple of drug dealers whacking each other.]

It’s when so-called ‘natural’ disasters happen I really get cranky with You because I admit there is a blindness within me and a hatred of the questions people ask of clergy when their baby dies or thousands die, the “Why would God….” questions.

My answers seem always unconvincing and that is the problem, attempting to answer comprehensively the mysterious!

St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians attempts to convey true wisdom in chapter 2 and, frankly, it does not easily satisfy unless I take seriously his closing statement that:  we have the mind of Christ.

Do I?

Yes – but do I make us of it at times like this or drown in my own emotional frustration that I don’t have more control over the universe…well more control over You if I be honest.

And that is because I forget in a whirlpool of emotions what it truly means to be ordained: in persona Christi!

It is to be in the person of Christ and therefore to stand at the altar and celebrate Holy Mass and be the tears, the voice of every human being, commingled with Christ’s as plea to the Father.

Doesn’t satisfy the emotions much but opens the heart to think and love, to pray and serve, to weep and love as Christ does.

Critical in the face of human suffering is to get past emotional reactions and all the variations of the “why God” questions and, as Pope Benedict urged yesterday, to spend our energy in love’s action of feeding, clothing, caring for our suffering brothers and sisters, burying the dead, comforting the wounded, protecting the pre-born children.

It is to accept His imperative invitation, or we shall fall into despair or unbelief being overwhelmed by human suffering: Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden light.  [Mt.11:28-30]

Unafraid to allow Him to comfort us, unafraid to share in His yoke and burden [which contains all the suffering mentioned above] we will recall, love, trust, and obey, the truth that Christ is our Priest of whom it is written: …we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. {Hb.4:14-16}

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