Friday, April 4, 2014

We will find him there.

 “When Christ came into our midst to redeem us,” says Hans Urs von Balthasar,, “he descended so low that after that no one would be able to fall without falling into him.” Now we can all fall down into our pain, the truth of who we really are and find him there. But how to be continually nonresistant to the falling? 
  A group of doctors from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston went to Haiti after that devastating earthquake in January 2010. And a young woman oncologist told the story of being totally overwhelmed by the situation in a very primitive tent hospital. There was a seemingly endless barrage of impossible medical traumas, and they were without proper medicines or instruments. And at one point she became paralyzed by her helplessness and fear. She was just then at the bedside of a little boy, whose leg had been amputated a few days earlier. It was all too much. Suddenly unable to function any longer, she began sobbing uncontrollably, her face hidden in her hands. It was then that this little fellow about six or seven years old, saw her tears and her trembling and with a smile lifted his head from his pillow and encouraged her to move on to some other kids nearby whom he knew needed her attention more than he did. And remarkably she found she was able to do so. It was a numinous moment for this woman. For in that moment the power of death, the horror and hopelessness and fear was broken open. She witnessed in that little boy the triumph of love over pain and fear.*
  We too look for the little hand of God beckoning us not to be afraid. Whatever our fears- great or seemingly insignificant, great traumas or smaller nagging ones- Jesus our kind Lord notices and offers us accompaniment and a way out. You and I are more than our fears. This is why he comes for us, to save us from all that would paralyze and hurt us. Falling under his cross in his wounded body Jesus has drawn all of our stories into his story; and it is no longer a dead-ended tale, but a story of life and hope. We don’t need to avoid our death, our dyings, if we do we’ll miss him who is our truth, our reality. We can fall down with him, into him and find him there with us.

Image from the series of prints known as the Miserere by Georges Rouault (1871-1958).
*Story from The Boston Globe, Spring 2010.