Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Myrrh is Mine, Its Bitter Perfume


Holy Women at Christ's Tomb by Annibale Carracci 

One of the fruits of contemplative prayer is that God reveals who you are to Him while also giving you glimpses of who He is. At the same time, the mystery of God becomes greater and the more you know, the less you know. It's a divine paradox where the mystery of God increases and never lessens.  Maybe it's because even the smallest glimpse helps us see that the true wonder and beauty of God cannot be revealed in this world, nor can it be measured, and the slightest lifting of the veil increases the mystery of who He is. How this "divine paradox" reveals to us who WE are is beyond me, but it does so in an ever widening manner. It sounds like a wonderful thing (and it is) but it's also a terrible and painful thing and can only be borne through the grace and mercy of God. One of the hardest parts is becoming more aware of our sins and seeing the horror of our accord with evil and how the beauty of our humanity is defaced by that accord with it. There's no way we can face such a thing without mercy. No possible way. We would die, I suspect. I mean, who could bear the disgrace that comes with the knowledge that we have defaced the image of Christ in both ourselves and others and have done so time and time again? Knowledge is a powerful thing but also a painful thing and without mercy we could not bear it.

Praised be the Heart of Jesus, overloaded with my opprobium. And your opprobium as well.

I defaced the image of Christ in my brethren. I was the hammer that crucified His flesh. I placed that thorny crown upon his brow. I am the sword that pierced His side. 

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. There are no other words for this. How could there be? Yes, much we do in our ignorance but it is still done and must be repaired.

Who could  bear seeing the innate (albeit often blemished these days) beauty of our brothers and sisters while also seeing our participation in destroying this beauty. Who could ever accept such a thing? 

We could not and cannot, so He did.  

This grace (and it is indeed a grace) that is one of the fruits of contemplative prayer may seem to be  overwhelming but it is not, thanks to Christ's redemption. There is a release that comes with true repentance and it's a powerful one that lays waste to the world's lies about both yourself and others. You'll never see things in the same way again.

Yes, myrrh is mine, and it is yours as well, the perfume of its sorrow and repentance both bitter and sweet. May its divine odor permeate our souls completely and may the fragrance of our repentant hearts reach the throne room of God.

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