Tuesday, January 12, 2016

With Saint Aelred

In Christ God has become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. It is in the wounded and risen Christ that friendship with God becomes real, for there we can see and understand the depth of God’s desire to share everything with us. For in the hour of his crucifixion God pours out his entire self for us, desiring to unburden us, to free us from sin and death, wanting what is best for us, as any friend would. True friendship with God is now accessible, possible because in the brokenhearted Christ, God most high has become God most low; God has opened his heart to us, longing for our friendship. It is the wounded face of Christ that reveals the love of Father, Son and Spirit. This everything of the Father’s love for us is most clearly expressed in the self-offering of Jesus, in his disfigured humanity.

A God who is love would be inconceivable without the reality of the incompleteness that is love, the inner voice, the deep desire that says, “I cannot be me without you. And you cannot be you without me.”* This is the truth of who God is, a God who is relationship, a God whom Saint Aelred names as friendship. In their mutual exchange, deferring to each other in love, Father, Son and Spirit utter these words endlessly to one another and to each of us. The Spirit invites us into this heavenly reciprocity, this exchange loving friendship, empowering, encouraging us to say to God with every fiber of our being: “I cannot be me without you,” as God repeats these same words back to us. Our friendship with God in Christ through the Spirit is ultimately fulfilled in our promise to love one another as we have been loved, to create households and communities of friends, where we will try to love as God loves. It is an impossible task, only the Spirit of Jesus can help us for alone we do not know how to pray or love as God loves.

Photograph of antique corpus in the Abbey hermitage by Brother Brian. Quotation by Jeremy Driscoll, OSB. Meditation by one of the monks.