” . . . slain with such fire of love”

“St. Catherine of Siena ‘speaks of the crucified Jesus as “slain with such fire of love. . . as seems insatiable.  Yet still he thirsts, as if saying: ‘I have greater ardor and desire and thirst for your salvation that I am able to show you, [even] with my Passion.’ ”  Catherine could only descrive the God she encountered as ‘crazed with love.'”  (from Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire by Fr. Joseph Langford)

“Lord, show us the Father.”

You can almost hear the sound of exasperation in Jesus’ reply to Philip’s request: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip?  He who has seen me has seen the Father: how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (Jn 14.9)  This week long I have been remembering and pondering a conversation I had with a good priest-friend of mine.  He made the insightful comment that he considered one of Christ’s greatest sufferings to be that so, so many did not grasp the most important part of His mission–and that was: to reveal the Father’s love to us.  How frustrating for Jesus to have so very few whose hearts and eyes were open to perceive this desire of His Heart and to satisfy it.  Imagine for yourself what it is like to try to communicate your own love and appreciation of someone dear to your heart.  You want everyone to know the goodness of this person you know.  One of my own favorite things is to introduce my friends to each other–so that these wonderful people that I know may get to know each other.  And here is Jesus who wishes to open the depths of our souls to the Father of all goodness. . . and we so often say with Philip, “Where is He? Show Him to us.”

Come, Holy Spirit, open our hearts wide to the full revelation of the Father through Jesus.  Help us to satisfy this never ending desire of His to “show us the Father.”

Jesus, the Good Samaritan to us

The gospel today (about the Good Samaritan) brought the picture below to mind.  It can be found on the cover of Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis’ commentary on St. Matthew’s Gospel.  (See Books tab above.)  Good SamaritanThis is how the back of the book describes this picture:

The book’s cover portrays Christ as the Good Samaritan in an illumination taken from the mid sixth-century Syrian Codex Rossanensis. The fire of God’s mercy, poured out without reserve by the Father into the Heart of his incarnate Word, impels the Son’s eager gaze earthwards.  Christ Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, the living ‘image of the invisible God’ in whom ‘the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily’ (Colossians 1:15, 2:9), bends down his sun-like nimbus—the very splendor of his glory, inscribed with the cross of his suffering—in a full ninety-degree angle, to show the perfection of His descent among us.  The eternal Lord of the ages thus moves into position to nurse with divine tenderness the green body of decaying humanity, prostrate with festering wounds: ‘Through the tender mercy of our God, the Dawn from on high has visited us, to give knowledge of salvation to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death’ (Luke 2:78f).  For his part, the dazzling angel has found a new mode of praise: to stand by his Master, marveling and ministering as he holds the gold bowl of grace and compassion, awestruck at the depth of the Word’s condescension.  What even angelic hands cannot touch unveiled, that Christ lavishes with open gesture upon the flesh and soul of his beloved brother, sin-wounded man.

Sometimes I just sit and meditate on how I am that green man lying in the road and try to imagine Christ standing over me pouring out His mercy–that even the angels cannot touch–upon me.  Peguy says: “It was because a man lay on the road that  a Samaritan picked him up.  It is because we lay on the road that Christ picks us up . . .