This is the great day of mercy in which the reality of daily life finds its true meaning in the commemoration of the event which is at the center of all history. The preoccupation with “reality” as we know is no longer the focus of our attention. The narcissism of relating everything to ourselves cannot endure the gaze of the Crucified. It is though we must now focus a camera on the background instead of the subject. The unfortunate reality is that we are too often focused on ourselves, even in religious matters. Religious experience and not the service of God and his people is too often the object of our quest.
The oxymoron of “reality tv” is a profanation of the humane. The self-indulgent staging of life must stop in the face of today’s reality. It is the reality of what our sins do to God. It is the reality of what the Love of God does for us poor sinners. The “big reveal” is symbolized by the unveiling of the Crucifix:
Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the Savior of the World.
Come let us adore.
Modern man prides himself on being more humane than his ancestors, further along the evolutionary path leading to universal brotherhood. But we kill more frequently than any culture of the path. We are no better than the Carthaginians who sacrificed their children to demons. Of course, we see things differently. We talk about compassion, a woman’s rights, termination of pregnancy. But what do we know of “suffering with” (the meaning of compassion). The big reveal is that we are full of ourselves.
Our Lady knows about compassion. Nothing is more real than suffering. Nothing is more real than the isolation that comes from suffering alone, or of one, who on the other hand, takes upon himself or herself the suffering of others.
The Heart of Christ is opened with a lance. The Heart of Our Lady is opened with the words Behold your son. They have opened themselves up to our isolation and alienation in order to restore us to God’s friendship. And this means that the Two Hearts, united in nature and grace beyond which union nothing more perfect can be conceived, are now torn from each other. Christ’s calls out to His Father in abandonment and His Mother is left with His killers as Her adopted children. This is reality.
All the virtual worlds and the houses of cards we have constructed, all our petty distractions, even the religious ones, fall away in the face of this. And if we keep blathering on about the preoccupations that keep us from hearing the silence and that excuse us from looking inside we just confirm the truth about the modern world: that is superficial and that it is all about image.
This is not meant to be a guilt trip. It is a reality check. It is the reality check. How is it that God Incarnate can be so “self-forgetful”? But he does not really forget Himself. He helps us to find ourselves: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: for he that shall lose his life for my sake shall save it (Lk 9:24).
Our hearts are restless because they have “cabin fever.” They are closed in on themselves. We need to align our hearts with the open Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This is the Hour of Mercy. We need God’s mercy. And we need to give God’s mercy. May we never be blind to what is truly real.