‘Blessed Are You Who Weep . . .’
Whether it may have been in Gospel-imagination or in the pilgrimage reality of walking the Via Dolorosa, it is impossible not to experience the poignancy of Jesus’ words to his women disciples: Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children… for if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Lk 19:41-42)
In order for Mercy Women and Men to understand something of the depth of a Mercy that will bear fruit in Justice and Peace, we too must learn to ‘weep’ for the world.
The Church of the West has much to learn from the spirituality of Penthos associated with the Church of the East. Often referred to as ‘the gift of tears’, Penthos may not necessarily involve physical tears, but rather imply silent ‘tears of the heart’ welling up from within.
Penthos springs from the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection. It is a deep awareness that ‘sin of the world’ restricts the experiences of God’s presence in our lives; it is a ‘godly sorrow’, a ‘holy mourning’, a lament arising from realisation of being deprived of the completeness of the ‘New Life’ in Christ offered in Baptism, ratified in sacramental Confirmation and renewed in every celebration of Eucharist.
Penthos expresses a spirituality of compunction from which compassion, forgiveness and healing are born; it brings knowledge of ‘the now’ of how personal, communal and universal history falls short of the ‘not yet’ of Jesus’ promise: Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh!(Lk 6:21). May not accent on ‘the now’ suggest that laughter’s ‘holy joy’ will undoubtedly spill over into the future?
The vibrant indigenous art of Patricia Marrfurra conveys well how Dede, Mother Earth weeps. Against a backdrop of a blood-red sunset, two immense blue eyes shed streams of white tears which splash down on to a parched earth. Patricia explains:
Dede in my language means ‘a place’. Most of all it is a word for Mother Earth. It’s not only people who weep for their loved ones who have passed away. The Mother Earth weeps at the loss of her custodians. She shows her grief by displaying bright colours during the evening sunset. The colours are orange and pink. There are also grey clouds. They represent the tears that she is shedding. When this happens, the Elders can feel her in their hearts and minds and they also grieve with her in silence.
As Mercy Sisters, Associates and Colleagues, we ‘weep’ that Mercy and Justice will ‘embrace’ in spreading ‘holy joy’ throughout our apostolic outreach. As a final thought, let me call on the wisdom of St Thomas Aquinas’ appreciation of ‘justice’ as ‘the equality of proportion in every respect’ and which, when coupled with ‘magnanimity’ has its own innate goodness amplified… (Summa Theol,II-II.58.12)
Messages to: Marie Farrell rsm