St. John of the Cross said that when God the Father didn’t find love in the human race, He put love in the human race, in the Incarnation of His Son. Then He found love, in His Son Jesus and on all who had become a part of His Body. But what if the story had been different? What if from the Cross Jesus had muttered obscenities, cursed those who crucified Him, (May my Father wreak vengeance on you and on all of your decedents!) and spit at the soldier that offered the wine on the reed? Would we be inspired? Would the world have changed? We could then readily write off this Jesus as just another one of us who in the end died no better and gave no greater way to live and die. Rather than being invited into the mystery, we would have walked away from the Cross disappointed.
But that is not what happened. He readily stretched out His arms. He forgave His persecutors and the Good Thief. He took care of His Mother and St. John as He suffered. Despite pain, humiliation, and ridicule, despite this was the very spot where there was the least amount of love in the world, He become the Love in the situation and now we see this moment as the greatest moment of Love in history and billions have been attracted to walk in His steps ever since.
We are to follow in those steps. Where we don’t see love, we are to be love. If we are not love, then we will inspire no one and our invitation to be like us and follow Christ will fall on deaf ears.
On Monday there were a couple of interesting exchanges in the comment section of Monday Diary. Stephen said some silly things as he is want to do. Two anonymous writers took great offense adding credence to the adage that, “More offence is brought into the world by people taking it than by it actually being offered.” Was what Stephen wrote the best thing to post in these religiously tense times? Maybe not. But how much more progress could be made by the ones who were offended by those comments to love and invite all to something higher? The placing of labels and naming of intentions heightens the tension and the stakes. I wouldn’t blame Stephen for not wanting to embrace those who wrote about him, the Anonymi did not win as many people to their good cause as they could, and anyone else reading was forced to take sides; are you for Stephen or the Anonymi? (I made that term up.) There was no neutral, higher ground to which we were all invited.
So return to St. John of the Cross. Where you fail to see love, don’t add to the dysfunction, be the love that you see missing. Even if you don’t win your adversary over, you may win over others who otherwise might see the cure as worse than the sickness.
Thanks for writing comments! I hope that you continue to do so.