Sunday, April 15, 2007

Divine Mercy Sunday +

The Incredulity of St Thomas [1634] -- Rembrandt
Magnificat today gives a meditation from the writings of Father Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Before Mass started, I was nearly in tears reading these words. And in the homily, the good padre told his flock (I was a guest, returning from a weekend retreat) that in a day when God's name is routinely invoked to smite and destroy enemies, it is vital that we witness to the divine mercy of God, vindicated in the crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord.

He told us in a succinct, magnificent homily the we should be "pioneers, like the pioneers who settled the old West. Only we should pioneer the good news of God's divine mercy through our mercy, our forgiveness, our compassion." With that, Von Balthasar:
So you, too, come up, Thomas. Come forth from your cave of sorrows. Put your finger here and see my hands. Extend your hand and place it in my side. And do not think that your blind suffering is more clairvoyant than my grace …

But since you are so wounded and the open torment of your heart has opened up to the abyss of your very self, put out your hand to me and, with it, feel the pulse of another Heart: through this new experience your soul will surrender and heave up the dark gall which it has long collected. I must overpower you. I cannot spare exacting from you your melancholy – your most-loved possession. Give it to me, even if it costs you your soul and your inner self thinks it must die. Give me this idol, this cold stony clot in your breast, and in its place I will give you a new heart of flesh that will beat to the pulse of my own Heart.

Give me this self of yours, which lives on its not being able to live, which is sick because it cannot die. Let it perish, and you will finally begin to live. You are enamored of the sad puzzle of your incomprehensible ego. But you have already been seen through and comprehended, for look: if your heart accuses you, I am nevertheless greater than this your heart, and I know everything. Dare to make the leap into the Light! Do not take the world to be more profound than God! Do not think that I cannot make short work of you! Your city is besieged, your provisions are exhausted: you must capitulate. What could be simpler and sweeter than opening the door to love? What could be easier than falling to one’s knee and saying: “My Lord and my God?”


Athos said...

On the other hand:

A Curse Against Book Stealers

For him that stealeth a book from this library,
let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with palsy,
and all his members blasted.
Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy,
and let there be no surcease to his agony
till he sink to dissolution.
Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not,
and when at last he goeth to his final punishment,
let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.

- From the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona

Porthos said...

That's harsh. What if it's just . . . overdue?

Thanks for the Divine Mercy word! I almost missed that (yesterday) was Divine Mercy Sunday, but was Providentially reminded in the waning hours of the day.

Athos said...

That's harsh. What if it's just . . . overdue?

Something Monty Python-esque, John Cleese-ish, methinks, Porthos.

His Darkness scans the curse in light of this development:

"Well, I say. It doesn't say a thing about overdue books here. Let's straighten in all out by a teensy-weensy change in the final clause, shall we? Try to make everybody, what?

How about this: ...and when at last he goeth to his final punishment,
let the flames of Hell consume him for ever minus a day. There! Everyone happy now? (Not waiting for an answer) Good! Now, back to work in the cesspool with you! Off you go! There's a good chap.

Athos said...

But just at that moment, there comes a great rendering, smiting, smoting, and crashing asunder. Lo! it be the harrowing of the netherworld --

"Come unto Me, all ye who toil and are heavy laden. For my burden is light, and my yoke it is light" saith He who is Light and Life.

BLAST AND DAMN! saith the Darkness.

"All manner o' things shall be most well," saith Lady Julian of Norwich.

Aye, now, gentle reader. Aye.