Saturday, March 24, 2012

Via Crucis VIII: That our tears might soak the ground

Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem. Weep; weep that our tears might soak the ground until this dry and barren land can once again sustain life.

The gift of tears in prayer was one that the desert fathers cherished and that the Eastern tradition continues to acknowledge (the purpose of the tassel on the end of an Orthodox prayer rope is to soak up the tears of one's prayer, for instance). In Ignatius' day, ardent Jesuits hoped for the gift of tears, though as Ignatius, graced at times with this gift, notes in a letter, be careful what you pray for, it might more difficult than you anticipate. Modern mystics who, as Ignatius puts it, "melt into tears," might be a bit more disconcerted than their medieval counterparts. Gabriel Bunge OSB writes beautifully about this gift, set into the context of the desert fathers and mothers, in In Earthern Vessels, while Mike Hayes of Googling God reflects on his open experiences here.

Meditation is from the feature published in the March issue of the Catholic Standard & Times. Follow the meditations under the tab above: Via Crucis: Meditation on the Passion.

To see a detail from the luminous Stations of the Cross at St. Basil's Chapel at the University of Houston, see here.


  1. Rarely do I ever see tears as a gift.