Sunday, April 13, 2014

Holy Week 2014

Imagine knowing you are going to do something clumsily if you try it and yet doing it anyway. What could this mean? Either the outcome does not particularly matter to you or the issue at the heart of any outcome is so important that you cannot not try.

I remember reading this passage by a spiritual writer who died in 1914: “Meditate on the Passion, no matter how unskilfully, how clumsily, virtue will come out from it to us, to heal and to strengthen.”

For a religious superior who returned so often to “right thinking about God” as key to an individual’s progress in prayer and the spiritual life, Mother Janet Erskine Stuart seemed to have taken an intellectual humility pill before writing what she did.

Was she up against fellow sisters who continually lamented their failure of imagination in meditating on the final days of Jesus? Were these women who despaired of matching in their personal prayer the stirring detail by which retreat directors had moved them to tears in their preaching about the sufferings of Jesus?

Mother Stuart would have understood what Pope Francis sent out on Twitter last week: “How beautiful it is to stand before the Crucifix, simply to be under the Lord's gaze, so full of love.”

For that matter, I understand it.

Raised – like the Pope – at a time when the Way of the Cross was a devotion that filled parish churches during Lent, I recall the language of the prayers attached to the fourteen scenes arranged along the walls of the church. Through that language I learned that my response to the sufferings of Jesus was something by which Jesus would be comforted. I learned, in other words, that a relationship already existed between this man of sufferings and myself and that the relationship mattered to him.

How does that relationship matter to me as a man in his early sixties?

I am looking for analogies, but I am not sure I will be entirely successful. I would have to understand things in my history better than I do to propose an analogy that will help my life with Jesus make sense in print.

It is Holy Week, however. I look forward to the services. I look forward to sitting with people who can meditate as clumsily as I.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have feared that my "clumsiness" would make me feel self-conscious and that entering into Holy Week this way would only detract me from the real focus of the Passion account, but now I realize that it is precisely in my brokenness and clumsiness where God's love is able to penetrate my heart and touch me in the places I would rather not go - I'm so glad it doesn't depend on my weaknesses but rather on God's mercy and so I will pray the stations of the cross with a desire to draw closer to God and join my suffering with his own.

Julie Kertesz said...

I can not meditate, for me the week are memories when I prepared coloured eggs for boys who will come to sprinkle with perfumed water - they never came. They went many to my pal in the neighbourhood. I was 13 or 14 ?

These days I will think of you and hope your relationships turn like you desire them.

I am deeply involved myself in London now, no more Paris, not in one to one relationship, but helping in the Toastmasters organisation to give confidence to many as need.

Anonymous said...

Aujourd'hui c'est le marathon de Boston .C'est un triste anniversaire mais j'ai lu que les sportifs sont encore plus nombreux cette année . Ces gens sont courageux et touchants .
Jo d'Avignon