The arms of Beauty cradle the world.
Love gently holds and caresses every heart…
Why then is there so much suffering, so much pain,
which casts hearts into darkness and despair—
feeling that they are totally alone, isolated,
rejected by God and man, cast into an abyss?
Father, you see this…you see this!
And many people cry out in anguish:
Why, O God, why are you silent?
Why do you hide your face from us?
They blame you for their pain,
or at least for not being there—not being there!—
when they need you, God, the most.
What is your answer to this, my God?
Why don’t you make yourself more visible
if what you are doing does not seem to be working?
If hearts that cry out to you don’t receive,
and then turn away to seek help,
or just escape and diversion, somewhere else,
or even giving up on life, which is no longer worth living
—not in their eyes, which can no longer see.
Ah…there is an answer, there is an answer!
It is not that you do not speak, do not show yourself,
but that you cannot be seen as we ordinarily see,
or be heard with the bodily ears.
But then…have you not, Father,
have you not both spoken and shown yourself before?
Then why don’t you do it for everyone?
Here lies the mystery of the Divine Tenderness…
of these flames of Compassion which burn your heart,
causing you to ache with the sorrow of every person
and mourn for the evil and darkness in this world.
Your Tenderness cannot be any closer, any more intimate,
holding, sheltering, and carrying us at every moment.
But Tenderness must respect the freedom of the beloved,
and to show yourself in the way that we wish or demand
is to do violence to the sacred mystery given to us by you.
Suffering makes us irrational, and we want freedom at any cost,
but you, loving God, want to walk with us at every step,
from woundedness in sin to the fullness of health.
In our pain we are blind and confused,
sitting outside fuming with rage, a can of beer in our hand
as we try to drown out the pain and ache within;
or we are hidden in the bathroom cutting our wrists,
hating who we are or what has been done to us.
And where are you, God, where are you?
You are in the pain and sorrow, coming to us;
you are in our longing for health and wholeness;
you are in the air reverberating around us,
in the slightest beating of our sorrowing hearts…
your voice repeating with every continuous beat:
I love you… I love you… I love you…
But we want, instead, to stop this heart,
since we can no longer hear the sound of Love within.
Life is no longer the manifestation of love, your gift,
but an unbearable burden, a wretched curse.
No… No… No… this is not true!
Loving God, show your love to your beloved children!
You are close, so close at every moment…
but they do not know this closeness,
unable to see, to feel, to hear in their despair.
A glimmer… a glimmer… a glimmer…
There is a glimmer of light in the darkness,
and something approaches us through the pain,
a figure beginning to make itself known,
the contours of its form becoming clear before us:
a Man who bore every darkness and every suffering,
who knew and carried every pain and every sorrow.
But this Man was not just any man, but God,
the Son in whom the Father himself gives all he is,
unleashing at the heart of our world, of our suffering,
the torrents of divine Tenderness and Compassion…
to flood our word, touching, accompanying,
and working ceaselessly to cradle and to heal.
Suffering is a mystery, a mystery of iniquity,
fruit of the abyss of evil brought by sin,
by the rejection of you, God, who alone are good.
But suffering is also a mystery of love,
the crucible of atoning fire where the broken heart
is again made whole through Love’s divine touch.
You do not will our suffering, nor cause it, God,
but you enter into it and take it as your own,
illumining the deepest darkness from within,
and transforming it from the inside by healing grace.
Now what before was a path, because of sin,
into the abyss of separation from you, from your face,
has become a path back into the unity of love:
for you come to us in loving and tender compassion,
touching us profoundly precisely in the place
where our anguish makes us sensitive to the touch
which in our ordinary life we cannot feel or know.
But you do not want us to stay here, God, in darkness.
No, you yearn to pour forth the Light of Love
which is deeper than every darkness,
and the consolation of your touch
which brings a peace stronger than every pain.
Love has shown itself stronger than death,
breaking the bonds of suffering and the grave,
and shattering even the shackles of sin and guilt.
And you carry us, you carry us, you carry us…
if only we allow ourselves to be held,
to be tenderly loved by you, most loving God,
through everything, with unceasing tenderness…
You carry us, moment by moment throughout this life,
into the consummation of intimacy that awaits us, Father,
in the fullness of your life-giving and eternal embrace.
Here every sorrow will vanish, and every tear be wiped away,
and here there will be unending gladness in you
and in the newness that you bring to all things, restored…
through the Passion and Resurrection of your Son
who pierced our darkness, took it into his embrace,
and destroyed it through the power of Eternal Love.