Sunday, 17 February 2008

VIII. Jesus speaks to the women

There is something about this picture that speaks to me of repentance. In a way, this is the moment of Christ's passion addressed to me. So much of what takes place occurs in masculine society, the courts of the Sanhedrin and Pilate from which women were forbidden, the courtyards of soldiers where women would rather not be seen. But here, in the street, women are not only witnesses, their mourning makes them involved. 'Weep not for me', says Jesus, 'weep for yourselves, and for your children'. There is in the same sentence a deep need for conversion, turning back to God, and a responsibility for the next generation, the children.

In many ways this picture moves me to look in places I would rather leave in the dark, places of suffering and pain. I feel a 'sense of revolt at my own foolishness and triviality. Shame and amazement at the way I have trifled with life and grace - how could I be so utterly stupid! A real sense of being flawed and needing immense help, pardon - to recover some capacity to love God.' (Thomas Merton). Are you allowed to steal your own feelings from the mouths of others?
When you see the sorrow of those who suffer great loss, it is impossible to understand, and perhaps that is why it is easier to quote Merton than fathom something of my own. Love is shown most when love is lost; that is when people weep, shout and cry. For me the women speak of the tragedy of 'love lost', they mourn their loss, and wish with all their mind, body and soul, that they could return to a place where love is found once more. A place which can only be found beyond death, a place in eternity.

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