April 3, 2010
Yesterday Agatha and I went to an absolutely beautiful Good Friday service at the Dominican House of Studies with the order of priests whom we both have a fondness for. Since they are the Order of Preachers, I expected a great homily, and boy, was it delivered. The homilist reflected on the fact that we might be experiencing a variety of emotions on Good Friday -- some of us pity, some of us sorrow, some of us confusion. However, he also noted that some of us might not be experiencing anything -- and that was okay. Christ does not want our emotions, the priest insisted. He wants something in our being, down to our very substance, that surpasses the accidents that may accompany it. When we were to kiss the crucifix, the priest indicated that we should give Christ our faith, hope, and charity. The theological virtues will keep us centered even when our emotions do not.
According to the priest, the centurion at the cross shows us how to live with faith, and the good thief shows us how to live with hope. But it is the mother of the Lord who shows us how to live the virtue of love, or charity, which is a love that, according to the priest, asks us to love God "not on our terms, but on His terms." Mary would have naturally wanted to take Christ down from the cross and spare him His agony. But Christ asks her to put aside her natural desires and to take John (and therefore us) as her own. Not on Mary's terms, but on the Lord's.
Now that we have arrived at Holy Saturday, I pray that we can live our vocations with love on God's terms. The Magdalene Sisters are single women in the world. We may not know why this is our vocation now, but it is. Sisters, let us respond to God with the aspiration, "Let me not love you on my terms, but on yours, Lord."