Leonard Cohen’s song Show Me The Place, a meditation on Christ’s willingness to surrender to Compassion and to suffer because of that surrender (and NOT because of a so-called necessity of suffering itself), inspired me to make a new Via Crucis – I also made one last year, click here to watch it.
Whatever some people might think of Mother Teresa’s choice to live amidst the sick and the poor, I believe she was genuinely touched by their humanity. I think she recognized the people she lived with in Calcutta as human beings, first and foremost, and that she did not want to reduce them to their sickness, their poverty and their suffering. She wanted to be a human being among other human beings. Her life is an inspiring example, following Christ’s footsteps, and that’s why my meditation starts off with her.
The Life of Christ testifies to a Love which “doesn’t want sacrifice nor suffering”. Sometimes we try to justify evil by saying it belongs to some “higher, even divine plan” which would in some ways be “rewarding”. Sometimes we make bad choices and identify them as “necessary evil” to achieve some ultimate goal – like studying something we really don’t like because of a so-called magical diploma which we believe will function as a key to open doors to a “happy, fulfilled life”. Opiate for the masses?
Christ’s God of Love reveals how suffering is not necessary, that it indeed is “evil” and not something we should easily justify. We should instead try to oppose it! Human beings are worth more than whatever plan we might come up with. They should not be means to another end, but ends in themselves. The story of the resurrection indeed reveals how Christ’s God of Love refuses the sacrifice of his Son, and that Christ gave his life because of Love – to let others come alive…
Christ’s Love is a Love which desires LIFE, liberating us to do everything we can to make life worth living, opposing the easy cynicism that “there are far worse things than never being born”.
Can we listen to the Voice of Love and experience (from within our natural, bodily conditions) that the suffering of fellow human beings is unjust? Or do we surrender to the silence of the stars, which, although they brightly shine, don’t give a damn about our trials and tribulations – even if we look for “reasons” and “necessities of fate” in our horoscope? Can we believe that Compassion is our deepest human faculty? Bruce Springsteen says it well (click to watch my post Bruce Springsteen’s Passion): “When we let our compassion go, we let go of what little claim we have to the divine…”
Besides music by Leonard Cohen, I used music by Linkin Park (an alternative version of their hit song Crawling) and Thomas Newman (Any Other Name, from the movie American Beauty). Images of the Way of the Cross are primarily by Jon Reischl and Nigel Groom. The final image is a painting by Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911), Das Tischgebet (Komm, Herr Jesu, sei unser Gast).
CLICK TO WATCH, LISTEN AND MEDITATE:
Erik, I don’t know if you still remember me from the Philippines. Thank you so much for your reflections. Continue to share them to all of us.
Arnold T. Monera
STL (KUL 1992-1994); STD (KUL 1997-2002)
School of Christian Studies
University of St. Joseph, Macau SAR China
Of course I remember you!
Thanks for your reaction. I’ll keep blogging for sure!
See you in Belgium?