Sunday, 30 June 2013

A New Look at the Suffering Church

"Christ Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Here is a new, simple drawing of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane in His agony.  I was actually working on what kind of colouring I might use to indicate direct moonlight (or any kind of Heavenly light).  I am far from satisfied and so I will continue to experiment, I'm sure.

As I was working on this drawing, however, I was meditating on the question:  What was it that caused Our Lord the most suffering -- what was it that affected Him so deeply that His sweat was mixed with blood?  These questions seemed particularly important to me with the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul yesterday and the remembrance of the first martyrs of the Faith at Rome after Nero blamed the Christians for burning the part of the City which he already had plans for rebuilding!

Anyway, back to the question...  As I pondered this question, I came up with a number of answers -- all of which you have probably considered yourself in your own meditation and prayer.  However, I would like to share just a bit of what the Lord brought to my mind during these prayerful times of drawing.

First, there is the obvious -- our Lord Jesus knows what is going to be done to him and his human mind and body can barely tolerate the terrible images in His head of what lies before Him.  Any of us would be the same.  Just the imagining of any severe damage to our bodies causes us to recoil in fear and anguish.

But then there are the less obvious possible causes of his extreme grief.  Chief among these would have to be the weight of the sins of  humanity, from the beginning of time until the end, which were now placed upon His shoulders.  I can't even begin to imagine the horror of this pure and sinless man when seeing all those sinful, violent and evil intents and actions found in the minds and hearts of human beings.  We all know how much evil there is in the best of us.  In those who are holy, such evil is disciplined and kept to a minimum; however, if we are honest with ourselves, we sense the level of depravity to which we might sink were we to throw off every restraint and cease to care how we might offend God.

Finally, though, there is one area of possible grief and suffering which might have burdened Our Lord even more than these things. Something I really had never thought about previously.  Something which now causes my own heart to ache as I consider the part I have played and am playing in this terrible weight that was on the heart of Our Lord.  I am speaking of God's determined effort to establish His Church, His Bride, which would be His representative on earth until He returns at the Final Judgement.

He had already seen how fragile was the faith of those He had chosen and instructed over those three years.  And as He looked into the future of the Church, He was able to see the flourishing of the Faith then see that Faith challenged time and again by those who would choose their own path, refusing to listen to His Body on earth. 

Because, we believe that God is not "in time"; that all things are present to Him from the "beginning" to the "end", then we might say that Our Lord is still kneeling there in the Garden, weeping and sweating blood over the agony that we, in our selfishness, continue to cause His Body the Church.  

The images God gave for His People, Israel, found in the Old Testament/Jewish Scriptures come to mind.  Especially the ones where His People were imaged as an unclean woman sitting by the side of the road, waiting to play the harlot for any man who comes along.  Even then, God spoke of weeping over his People, Israel.  How much more then must He weep over the the desecration of His own Body, the Church.  

I still have a lot of pondering to do over this image, but that is what this type of prayerful meditation is all about -- the type I so often do while I am drawing images of Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and all the saints and angels.  In spite of these deep and troubling thoughts, I am not depressed or "weighed down" because I know in whom I have believed and I am sure that He is able to keep me and all those who seek Him safe until that Day.



These are my sister, Janet's, grandchildren.  She is very blessed indeed.  I would love to see her and her family often but life just hasn't worked out that way.  I will be seeing my sister and her husband, her children and grandchildren sometime before this year is over, however.  Now, let me tell you about these wonderful young people.

Here is a photo of my sister's only grand-daughter.  This is a recent photo taken at
summer camp.  She is very active and seems to have little fear about trying these
sorts of activities!  Very much unlike her Great-Aunt Sallie!

Here is the same grand-daughter seen
in the photo above.  This time she is
spending time with her brother.

And here is that same grandson with his Dad, my
sister's son.  I really love this photo.

Here is my sister's other grandson.
He is dressed up as a soldier while
visiting the Jamestown Settlement
in Virginia, USA  I think he makes a
very handsome soldier!
Here is the same grandson only this time he is
having a talk with Thomas Jefferson while
visiting Williamsburg, Virginia.  I hope he
got lots of good ideas for essays
when he is taking U. S. History
 in high school!



Black cats with yellow eyes look very similar so
it is difficult for me to tell if this is a photo of
Suki or of some other black cat!  Anyway,
the look in the eyes certainly reminds me of Suki!
Suki once again has a full belly and is deeply asleep on the back of the sofa.  What she doesn't know is that in about half an hour from now, Braden will be arriving for a visit!  Braden thinks Suki is very, very interesting, but the last time he was here, he was not walking.  Now, he is walking!  Suki does not realize what danger she will be in once little Braden arrives... He is one of those little boys who likes to take things apart!  Poor Suki -- her nap will soon be interrupted most abruptly.  I tried to get her to move into her "crow's nest" bed in the bedroom, but she felt she knows best.  Oh, well... I will give you a report on what happened in my Wednesday posting.

As you may recall, yesterday was the big celebration for Braden's birthday at his grandparents' home in Mississauga.  So, I expect he will be a bit tired when he gets here.  I hope we are able to get some good pictures plus I want his parents to share the photos from yesterday's party with me.  Then I will have lots of photos to choose from and I will be able to share the best of the lot with all of you in my next post.

I really thought that I was going to have a fairly quiet long weekend, but gradually everything has changed.  I knew there was the possibility of seeing Braden and his parents this weekend (I thought that all the activity in downtown Toronto today might prevent them from making the trip).  However, I just spoke with Braden's father who said that they would only turn back if the traffic situation became really bad -- so now I will wait and see.

As well, I heard from my dear friends, the Clifford's, who suggested a visit tomorrow with a visit to a local restaurant in honour of their daughter's recent birthday.  I am delighted to be included as I haven't seen them for some time now.  

So, with all these visits plus my daily trip to the gym, I am really staying quite busy.  

As far as my health is concerned, I continue to do much the same -- in other words, nothing new has come along thus far to cause me any new problems.  The gym is helping me once again to feel better, especially right after I finish my hour or so of exercise!  It is great to experience all those little endorphins busily doing their happy dance!

Well, I had better finish this off if I want to get it posted before Braden arrives.  

I wish all of you in Canada a very happy Canada Day tomorrow.  

May the first martyrs of Rome pray for us that we may stay strong in our Faith and in our sense of what the Church really is.  May we never forget that when we harm our brother or sister in Christ we affect not just ourselves and that other person, but we also cause another drop of bloody sweat to fall from the brow of Christ's Body, the Church.

Now, may the peace of the Lord be with you all, today and always.

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