Reflections and comments on all aspects of Catholic and Human Life.
"THE FIRST LAW OF HISTORY IS NOT TO DARE UTTER FLASEHOOD; THE SECOND, NOT TO FEAR TO SPEAK THE TRUTH." attributed to Pope Leo XIII
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
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WHY PRIEST’S CANNOT CLOSE THEIR HEARTS
This is the Icon of the Humiliated One – this IS Jesus, after He was arrested under cover of darkness, falsely accused by perjured testimony in an illegal, night time trial, forbidden by the very Law He was accused of violating - and those who were in judgement of Him had already met in secret, in darkness and predetermined the outcome – he was dishonoured, despised, and condemned as guilty by those with religious power over Him – and they were supposed to shepherd the flock, protect the weak, grant justice and further, because they had no power to fulfill their desire of His absolute destruction they turned Him over to the secular power – which in the person of Pilate proved itself as equally corrupt and cowardly – so this Innocent One was subjected to further suffering – in plain words before His execution He was tortured physically, spat upon, lashed, crowned with thorns and mocked – then – believing that they had succeeded in stealing from Him His dignity and personhood they executed Him between two common criminals so as to prove they were right in their false accusations, placing Him in person among the guilty, there could then be no doubt about His guilt – and they murdered Him and to guarantee He was dead they took a lance and ripped open the Heart of the Humiliated One. As Scripture says: …one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. [ Jn. 19:34] Yet that very river of blood and water gushing forth from the pierced Heart of the Humiliated One , as the Church teaches, is the source of the origin and growth of the Church…For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the Cross that there came forth the “wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.” [ CCC#766] Most especially the Church sees in the flow of blood and water the gateway sacrament of Baptism and the source and summit of sacramental reality the Most Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 11: 28-30, is the very specific revelation by Christ Himself of His Heart and – as difficult as this may be to accept – I believe it is also His revelation of the ‘heart-state’ of being of all those who would come to Him – but come to Him not just to ‘feel’ better but to become what we are [ once all the clutter of the false selves we have created or the false labels that have been put upon us are cleared away by Him ] real Beloveds – beloved of and by Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit – for only when the heart knows its own belovedness can the person emerge, free, dignified, selfless, able to love and serve others without ever counting the cost. So this Heart, which began beating within the womb of Mary in anticipation – I would say with a full fire passionate anticipation of the day It would cease beating and be ripped open to flood the world with love’s fire, beats as the Awaiting One – waiting, of course, for us: you, me, every human being. This Heart knows, even more true than we can ever imagine, the pure lines, the pure objective story of our lives from the moment our hearts first began to beat until the very moment when, wherever and in whatever condition we are, we hear His Heart call out the invitation to approach, be beloved, become: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give You rest.” We are, especially in this time in history with all the reasons for fear, with all the immense labour it takes just to survive from one moment to the next, we are burdened more than we even imagine much less understand – so burdened that faith, or at least the risk of believing, looms over many of us like the proverbial straw which, should it add itself to our burden would not only crush us but – fear of all fears – would annihilate us ---- so -----satan, the culture of death, the merchants of what can be consumed, persons totally bent towards themselves acting as agents of our destruction, confusion, fear, for these do not want us to hear the Heart speaking so they too beckon us, they too promise rest – but they, liars all, never reveal the cost of their promised rest, which is no rest at all: stupor, sometimes; dark uneasiness, always; and perpetual fear. Only the Heart does: “Take My yoke upon You and learn from Me….” What’s going on here? What’s the catch? Our weak faith, raw emotions, our addictions, wounds, fears, guilt, not to mention the cackling of the liar himself, causes many to pull away – after all most of us are already ‘yoked’ to something or someone to a disordered degree that has us burdened, labouring to exhaustion in the first place – but those yokes [ for their name is legion] are at least familiar and give us, as illusory as it may be, a sense of security, identity, etc. – so it is understandable so many are unsure when this Heart is asking us to – more accurately inviting us – to take on His yoke! That is my point: wherever confusion is, satan is. Wherever the stark simplicity of a truly free invitation is, Christ is! Here is a moment when we really do need to step away from the cacophony of what we think we know, step away from the whirlwind of what we think we are doing in our lives, step beyond whomever and whatever has yoked us into bondage, brokenness, fear and, standing still, listen with whatever little corner of our hearts has not become stone but is still flesh and suddenly our ears, our hearts, will realize this is a marriage proposal, an invitation to intimacy, to being beloved for His Yoke is at one and the same time His Incarnation, Transfiguration, Suffering, Death, Resurrection – but also at one and the same time His loving-service, His intimacy with the Father and the Holy Spirit – in a word His yoke is His Heart and He is saying: Freely, freely accept My Gift, My Proposal, My Heart, My Truth, My Life, My Light, My Love. The learning unfolds in the accepting and the reason He gives for learning from Him within this love-yoked-intimacy is because: “I am meek and humble of Heart;” Only a meek and humble heart can suffer as Christ’s suffers: not for self but for other. Only a meek and humble heart, yoked to the Heart which is ALL meek and humble, the Suffering Servant’s Heart, can truly be one with Christ and love and forgive as He loves and forgives. The world since the Ascension of the Meek and Humble Pierced Heart has been awash in Popes, Bishops, Priests, Religious, Christians – but not so awash in Saints! G.K. Chesterton once remarked on what he saw as the fundamental problem of Christianity was to be found not in its failure to succeed in its mission of restoration of all of human life and history to Christ, but rather that Christianity has never seriously been tried. I believe the root of that can be found in the way we somehow only half-heartedly open when we listen to the Heart – it seems we just don’t stop and really wait to truly hear and fully understand and then live it out. Meekness, of course, is that immense inner strength and exterior courage which has the silent fortitude of the Humiliated One before His false accusers, cruel torturers and even more darkly cruel religious leaders and civil authority who callously sought to destroy the One of Meek and Humble Heart for the sole reason they arrogantly assumed this was all about: eliminating the sole interference with their own agenda, which can be summarized as: “We have the power to say how God wants things done/We have the power to say how Caesar wants things done!” Of course there is no indication, around the death of Jesus, either of those bent-toward-selves persons checked with either God or Caesar!