These were outside one of the hospitals to which I bring my parishioners hours away from these back ridges of Appalachia. That’s pretty much my life, bringing others to hospitals, or visiting them there.
We suffer because of the effects of original sin. I tell my suffering parishioners that I’m catching up to them, and hope there will be someone to bring me or visit me when I do catch up.
In the midst of all this weakness, we can still have the purity of heart and agility of soul which the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception had the right in His own justice to grant to us in His abundant mercies, the Innocent standing in the place of the guilty. I just never tire from repeating those words. If we only knew, if we only had a tiny inkling of the meaning of His wounds, how much God loves us, how very much. For God to be merciful, He has to be just. We see justice wrecked upon us in the effects of original sin. We also see the justice of the mercy in the justice of Him standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. He takes upon Himself the punishment we deserve in justice. He thus can and does have mercy: “Father, forgive them,” He said as He died.
This is an “incarnational truth.” Is God an abstract notion of our own imagination somewhere out in outer space so that, in that way, we are “connected”, “spiritual,” when we just go off into nirvana, nothingness, individuality so radically cut off that we are also just nothing, a nice experience of pure escapism? That makes anti-Incarnation theologies seem rather idiotic, right? Yes. Better to be realists, with reverence before the Incarnation of the Son of God who bears our wounds on His body.
We learn to have some purity of heart and agility of soul when we have some bit of reverence and humble thanksgiving before Him for the justice, then the mercy. With that purity of heart and agility of soul we might then also get a glimpse of what the Immaculate Conception must have understood of what those wounds of her Son mean for her own redemption (that she might be the Immaculate Conception), and what those wounds mean for us. Such a strong woman!
She takes in all of that reality from which we all run away. Remember that short verse (Mark 14:50)? “And they all abandoned Him and ran away” (just five words in Greek). “Abandoned Him.” “Ran away.” So, some flowers for her, who stayed, who was in solidarity with Him as He was in solidarity with us, not afraid of His Incarnation, she being His mother. Once a mom, always a mom:
Staying there, below the cross… That’s purity of heart and agility of soul.