Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sewing Division

On Wednesday, I went to Mass at SS. Trinitá in the centre of Rome. I will soon post something about the Mass itself, but one of the side effects of the Mass was a reflection on the Cross.

As I looked up at the Altar piece in the church I noticed a couple things. First of all, the Father was at the top of the painting with the Holy Spirit right below him and Jesus on the Cross just below that. At the foot of the Cross were the usual suspects. The coloring above the cross-bar of the Cross was a bright Gold which flowed from the Father. It was stopped short by the Cross and below it, the scene was one of deep, muted blues and purples. This got me thinking about the Cross as a source of division. It has divided people since the Crucifixion first happened. Here again was the Cross dividing things. It divided the painting into four parts. It reminded me of the story of the sheep and the goats. The King divided the bad from the good. But in the case of the painting, he was not "dividing" in the same way at all. On one side was the Virgin and on the other side was St. John. What does He say to those two? "Behold your son," "Behold your mother." Where sin had divided, the Christ was healing. However, he is still in some way a division. He is the thing in the center. The seam, so to speak, keeping the pieces of cloth together. The seam makes a distinction, but more than that it binds things together. That is what Christ is. He divides in that he distinguishes. She is mother, you are son. You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church. I no longer call you slaves but friends. In Christ there is no longer slave and free...man and woman...Jew or Gentile. How are we to make sense of these distinctions that he makes between people when he seems to break down all distinctions. He is the seam that distinguishes and makes one. And it's not just between us that he "sews division". He sews division between us and His Father. He unites the Blue and the Gold, the earth and the heavens, the human and divine because he is both. He is one in substance with us and one in substance with the Father. When so much is fractured in this world, we need the thread of grace running through our lives.

And that was my reflection on the Cross.

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