Monday, 1 March 2010
Repentance, Compassion, Longing for God
Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday... I'm in London with less internet access for the week. Here's the reflection from Julian of Norwich for today:
"But just as it seems we are about to be forsaken and cast off - which is, after all, what our sin deserves - with the tenderest love, our Lord keeps hold of us. In this way we learn humility, and because of this we are lifted up high in God's sight, by his grace, and know a very deep repentance, compassion, and true longing for God. Then suddenly we are delivered from sin and pain and raised to bliss and made equal to the great saints!
By repentance we are made clean; by compassion we are made ready; by true longing for God we are made fit for him. As I see it, it is by these three steps that a soul can enter into heaven - I mean those who are sinners on earth who are going to be saved. Every sinful soul must be healed by these medicines. Yet though God has healed him, God still sees his wounds. But now they are wounds no longer: they are trophies. Everything is turned upside down."
Today at the Mass I attended in London, the priest spoke of compassion, in relation to the Gospel, as an ability to 'suffer with' Christ - not the state of being nice to people or have nice feelings. We have to share the passion of Christ with Him, and then share it with others, by seeing his passion in their own difficulties. Pope Benedict's recent Lenten lectio divina to the priests in Rome speaks of how the priesthood of Christ was rooted in his ability to have compassion for mankind as their mediator to God. As the Letter to the Hebrews says, he interceded for men with 'tears and groans', and we see this when he wept for Lazarus at the tomb, or begged forgiveness to the Father for the soldiers who nailed him to the cross.