The VisionIn the busy tongues of spring
There’s an angel carolling.
Kneeling low in any place,
We may see the Father’s face;
Standing quiet anywhere,
Hear our Lady speaking fair;
And in daily marketings
Feel the rush of beating wings.
Watching always, wonderingly,
All the faces passing by,
There we see through pain and wrong
Christ look out, serene and strong.
Tag Archives: wound
Go … go … leave it!
Why do they tell us to do these things?
Soldiers of Caesar … are we not human?
They had their fun
Till it sickened
And they laboured.
And I stayed.
Here! Put this back on!
See he shivers in the shock,
Not the usual cursing, angry vagrant,
Their bodies react like that,
But his eyes are calm.
He looked at me.
I am ashamed.
Here, let me help you.
Why do they do this?
Why mock the man?
No-one seems to know.
But for their satisfaction
And more to come I hear.
Well, I’ll leave you here … where else?
I’m off duty soon,
My wife will have my meal,
I’m hungry now.
What for you?
The hordes are ravenous,
Whipped up for blood.
Do you not have friends?
Who speaks for you?
I must go.
Someone will come for you soon.
But wait here ….
I’m sorry ….
The Crowning with Thorns, Strasbourg Cathedral, West Front.
Wounded feet mark the garden,
wound dawn’s dew.
The white morning sky waits,
and for someone –
more than one. Weary and true,
they come, they run:
wide hearts with wide rays ablaze –
out-blaze sun’s rays,
await the earth’s incense.
Snowdrops bow, bearing the weight
[Painting by Eugene Burnand, 1850-1921
Musee d’Orsay, Paris]
JESUS FALLS UNDER THE CROSS
Our witness is a man who was cured by Jesus. He was lame, but now can walk.
You will find his story in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 9, vv 2-8.
I know this man. Jesus took away my sins. He said they were forgiven.
Then he told me to get up, pick up my bed, and walk home.
Now he is down, under the weight of the cross, too heavy to pick up, too far from home. Crushed by the weight of our sins.
Lord, many people are far from home, or crushed by sorrow or sin.
Help us to care for them, to make them welcome, to show them your love.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
This is an invitation to look at each other and into our own hearts and behaviour- an activity well-suited to Lent.
My wife Janet tells the story of a child at the local playground, where she was with our grandson. This other pre-school boy was coming down the slide towards her, but no-one else was watching him.
His mother was on her phone.
The boy was looking for someone to make eye contact and acknowledge that he’d come down successfully. At least the kind stranger was there …
And this story connected with Pope Francis’s
In Paragraphs 128 and 129 he says:
The aesthetic experience of love is expressed in that “gaze” which contemplates other persons as ends in themselves, even if they are infirm, elderly or physically unattractive. A look of appreciation has enormous importance, and to begrudge it is usually hurtful. How many things do spouses and children sometimes do in order to be noticed! Much hurt and many problems result when we stop looking at one another. This lies behind the complaints and grievances we often hear in families: “My husband does not look at me; he acts as if I were invisible”. “Please look at me when I am talking to you!”. “My wife no longer looks at me, she only has eyes for our children”. “In my own home nobody cares about me; they do not even see me; it is as if I did not exist”. Love opens our eyes and enables us to see, beyond all else, the great worth of a human being.
129. The joy of this contemplative love needs to be cultivated. Since we were made for love, we know that there is no greater joy than that of sharing good things: “Give, take, and treat yourself well” (Sir 14:16). The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven.
Joy for this little one in being seen and also in a warm brotherly embrace.
Photo by CD
We face the same Problems at the Manger as Father Andrew pointed out eighty years ago.
O mighty God, O baby King,
Thyself must teach what welcoming
Thy children, old and young, should bring,
How each should make his offering.
For here are little boys and girls,
With tidy clothes and ordered curls;
A little Scout his flag unfurls,
His mother kneels in lace and pearls.
And here are faces pinched and white,
And men who walked about all night;
A soldier who has lost his sight,
A boy whose sums will not come right.
The young, the middle-aged, the old
Are gathered here, some gay with gold,
Some ragged creatures, starved and cold –
The fat and lean are in Thy fold.
And though our hearts at Christmas glow
With sense of shame that things are so,
Yet how to get the world to go
In Christian ways we do not know.
There’s nothing wrong in tidy boys,
It’s nice to give expensive toys,
It’s natural to make a noise,
And lovely things are perfect joys –
Yet still we kneel before Thy straw
In penitence and puzzling awe –
Show us our system’s vital flaw,
And that strong truth the Wise Men saw.
Love, Thou must teach us, every one,
To toil until Thy will be done;
So never in this world again
Shall child be housed in cattle pen.
Creation is one – which is a reminder that there is no separation between the dead and the living – we share the same Creation but at different levels. The realm of the dead is not some distant place from where we will escape through resurrection. Life and death belong in the one reality. Jesus’ risen life wasn’t more real than his ordinary life – he is the fullness of reality – yet it is certainly more enduring.
There is one Creation in life, in death and beyond death. Creation is forever undergoing death, resurrection and transformation. Resurrection is not just about Christ; it is about all of us and all creation. Jesus was not just 3 days older, with wounds healed by God, but was present as one simultaneously alive and dead. Not that the Lamb slain has recovered. Resurrection has emptied death of its power; by showing the shape of death – the mortal wounds – without its content.
This presence is always present as death overcome. Resurrection is a new way of being human, or a rereading of the original human story that had been obscured by death. God’s affirmation of Jesus’ living and dying is Resurrection. Jesus Risen did not simply reveal information as yet unknown, but shows a reality as yet unobserved, because clouded by death. The Revelation is not that there is Resurrection from the dead [this was known at the time of Maccabees].
It is not in being human that we rise from the dead, like the next step on a journey, we rise from the dead through association with Jesus Risen, it is an entirely new way of being [as Jesus told Nicodemus]. Prior to Resurrection the disciples couldn’t understand what he was saying or where he was leading – now they see something new about him, about God and about themselves. Incarnation means coming in the flesh. The body is the creative medium through which Spirit flourishes.
The day I received and edited this post, (13 October) we read about ‘Decisions’ and how this isn’t always a small and cosy world; ending with the exhortation: pray for Wisdom! Unwise decisions have led to some men being in prison, despite the gifts and talents they may be blessed with. Here, then, is a reflection from our own Fr Valentine who works with prisoners.
Who is a Prisoner in Prison? By Father Valentine Erhahon
A prisoner – in our context – is a man who is legally committed to prison as a punishment for a crime.
Any crime no matter how small affects everyone: the victim, the criminal, the society and the criminals relationship with God.
A prisoner has hurt someone and may still be hurting someone. He should be sorry.
A prisoner is someone’s son. He is someones Father. He is someones best friend. He is someones brother. He is someones trusted friend. He is someones partner. He is a son of God and loved unconditionally by God.
A prisoner is also a good person. He is a gentleman. He has talents. He has kindness in him. He laughs, he cries, he sings, he argues, he bleeds, he understands, he hurts, he learns, he fears, he cares, he teaches and he forgives himself, he forgives others, he asks for forgiveness.
The beauty of our Faith as Catholics is that we believe in Redemption. We know and hold as true that we can look into any eye and choose to see goodness. We recognise the difficulties and know we may fail in our quest, but we continue to choose to see goodness regardless.
We know that in the end, God made everyone in his own image and likeness: male and female he created them and saw that we are good the book of Genesis tells us.
It is therefore our duty to show and remind a prisoner that he is a good person. He is a good man.
That is why:
I believe the best way to strike at the conscience of a prisoner is not by constantly reminding him how bad he is: But by respectfully showing a prisoner how much good lies inside of him just waiting to be enhanced; and then, ever so gently, he will start to believe how good he can become.
A Prisons Week Prayer
Lord, you offer freedom to all people. We pray for those in prison. Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist. Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends, prison staff and all who care. Heal those who have been wounded by the actions of others, especially the victims of crime. Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in his strength and in his Spirit, now and every day.
Prisons Week, A Week of Prayer
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. PHILIPPIANS 3 V12 (NIV)
The Apostle Paul here speaks as someone who knows the pain of endurance and hopelessness. Tortured and beaten, in prison many times for his faith, he nonetheless spoke to fellow prisoners about the hope he had found in Jesus. He had started as offender, hurting and maiming others, but found forgiveness and new life in Jesus. Yet life did not magically grow easier; instead he had to learn to live with his past, and face an uncertain present of false accusations and persecution for his faith. He was someone kept alive by hope, who endured and persevered in the face of desperate circumstances.
What better inspiration for all those connected to the criminal justice system, than Paul’s words? For the victims who struggle day by day to live with memories and scars, and hope for a better tomorrow; for the staff, who patiently come alongside broken men and women, and walk with them the slow road towards change; for prisoners themselves, trying to make sense of their lives, fighting against the scars and choices of the past and fear of the future; and for the families and friends of those in prison, faithfully visiting and supporting. Paul encourages all not to give up hope, but keep their eyes on the goal, keep going. Yet this isn’t about making efforts and working harder. It is about recognising that in Jesus, God has already ‘taken hold’ of us. That victims, prisoners, staff and families, are not walking this road alone, but God, who loves them, is ready to walk with them. In Prison Week, we stand in prayer with all who carry on in hope, that they would know they are loved by God and have the faith and courage to press on towards new life.
+ Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
A Prisons Week Prayer
Please pray for those in prison this week, using this prayer or another.
Lord, you offer freedom to all people. We pray for those in prison. Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist. Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends, prison staff and all who care. Heal those who have been wounded by the actions of others, especially the victims of crime. Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in his strength and in his Spirit, now and every day. Amen.
At the end of Prisons Week we will have a further reflection from a priest working with prisoners. Will T.