Friday, March 25, 2016

Spirituality: “On That Great Tree” By Caryll Houselander

To those who stood by it must indeed have seemed now that Christ was separated from other men. He had been led out, outside the city wall, to die; he was rejected by his own chosen people; he was powerless in the hands of those who must crucify him (almost without interest), in the course of their ordinary duty. He was an object of mockery and scorn; he seemed to be a fool, and as a fool his enemies treated him as a fool, or perhaps a madman.

Even those who loved him were abashed and silent. His Mother alone was silent because she entered perfectly into his suffering with him. There was no need for any words between Jesus and Mary: his passion was hers, her silence his. But others were silent with dismay, with fear, even with doubt and disillusionment. The thing was beyond words now: a word of loyalty to Christ, a word of pity, would have been enough to endanger a person’s life; at the very least, it would have made a fool of him too.

That was how things seemed to be. But, in reality, as Christ stretched out his beautiful craftsman’s hands and composed his blameless feet on the hard wood of the cross to receive the nails, he was reaching out to countless people through all time: as he stretched his body on that great tree that was to flower with his life forever, he gave himself to be made one with all those who in every generation to come would willingly bind and fasten themselves irrevocably to the cross, for the love of God and the love of men.

Source: Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross, pp. 124-125, as found in Magnificat, April 2015, page 69.