He Disciplines the One He Loves

He Disciplines the One He Loves

I promise, I promise that I will not forever be talking about prison on here. At some point, the students will make an appearance again. It simply seems that the most striking things are happening in prison.

The other night, we were following a winding conversation that started from Sunday’s Gospel. We discussed being the one sheep that wanders away and how the generous love of the Father always seeks us out. One of the inmates reflected on how God’s love sometimes doesn’t seem gentle, as He protects us from worse things. He compared it to an experience he had as a father where he had to stop his child from running into traffic but that action made the child cry. Yet it was necessary in order to save the child from greater danger or even death. It was likened to prison, a place I’ve frequently heard them refer to as a place that saved them while also grumbling against it.

Another inmate listened to this and then quoted from memory, “The Father disciplines the one He loves.”

And that other inmate just nodded his head and said, “Thank God.”

Continue reading “He Disciplines the One He Loves”

No Greater Love Meditation

No Greater Love
My hands are clenched, uselessly grasping at the stones and dust beneath them.  My face is buried in my arms, tears streaming down, body trembling.  I do not feel the sharp rocks that I kneel on or the beating sun rays on my cloaked back.  I feel only anguish and sorrow.  The tears are all wept and I remain crouched, afraid to look up and see.  Everything seems to happen quickly but the moment drags on in agony.
            I thirst.  My heart clenches at the sound of His voice.  It is both loving and tortured.  Although dreading the sight, I slowly raise my head.  He is looking at me, peering into my eyes, reading my soul.  I feel terror at all He can see there—my sins, my shortcomings, my foolishness.  Yet His eyes remain soft and tender despite the overall appearance of pain around Him.  I glance to the ground where my hands are unconsciously reaching into the dust, sifting through pebbles.  When I return my gaze to Him, He is still studying me.
            I thirst.  My lip trembles uncontrollably and a tear courses down my cheek, over the dust of the day’s trials.  He looks as though He wanted to caress the tear away but His hands were unable to reach.  A man reaches up a sponge on a hyssop branch with wine on it.  He tastes it but turns back to me.  In His eyes I can see He was not satisfied.
            ‘What do You thirst for?’ I pondered to myself.  His eyes pierce my heart.
            ‘I thirst for you, my beloved.’  I am taken back.  His lips are dry from no water and heavy exertions, His back bleeding from whips, His hands and feet pierced by nails.
            ‘You thirst for me?’  I ask silently, willing Him to hear me.
            ‘Yes, I thirst for your love.  I desire to be loved completely by you.  Will you not give it?’ His eyes are pleading.
            ‘What can it mean to You?  I am so little.”  He looks away briefly, but returns His gaze, His eyes brimming with tears.
            ‘It means everything, little one.’  Weeping, I close my eyes.
            ‘Yes.  You have all my love.’  Opening my eyes, I see the joy in His. 
            It is finished.

            ‘Hardly, it is just beginning.’  He looks approvingly at me.  I press my face into my arms again, weeping.  When I quiet, I sit up and lovingly gaze at my Eucharistic Jesus, crucified in a monstrance for love of me.