Ah, the history of our children,
unfolding within our Love,
is charted and written down among them
under the inspiration of our touch.
In writing their history
we write as men write words,
instilling mysterious meaning,
types and anticipations
preparing their hearts for your coming,
my dear and beloved Son.
But this writing is not done
with a lifeless and inert object,
for our freedom is active
in the very freedom of men.
But in giving them such freedom
we also open the possibility of infidelity,
and the whole of their history
is marked with the scandal of sin.
They so often resist us,
turning from the Covenant of love,
bringing upon themselves suffering,
the affliction of war and exile.
Nonetheless, in their very rebelling,
their infidelity to our invitation,
we make the story of salvation
to continually progress…
and we purify, through affliction,
the faith of the simple hearts,
the hearts of our beloved ones.
It hurts to see them suffer,
to be afflicted by the idolatry all around,
and the scandal even in the chosen people—
and yet we draw near to them in this pain,
and hold them, weeping, to our Heart.
In the “great” characters of this story,
whom we have chosen for a visible task,
whose names and legacy have been written down,
there is a reflection of our light and grace,
but also the marring result of sin
—whether it be Abraham, Moses, or David,
or any of the others we have chosen—
a “yes” that is given, though weakly,
and only matures over time.
A “yes” that is often turned to “no”
through sin and selfishness,
only to be renewed and purified
through the fires of repentance.
But this mystery that unfolds in them
is proper to our chosen people as whole,
whom we continue to educate patiently,
softening their stubborn will
and melting their hard hearts with mercy,
which alone can liberate them
from the destructive effects of their sin
and give them the life for which they thirst.
Indeed, it is not the “great” ones
who manifest the final work of our grace;
nor is it an impersonal institution
in which each is an anonymous face.
Rather, it is the “little ones”
for whom we thirst so deeply,
and whom we continuously seek,
in the ardent tenderness of our Love…
which descends, descends like water
into every thirsting heart.
In the movement of weaning
by which the people’s idols are cast away
so that they may worship us alone,
there arises among them
a true remnant of the faithful,
who rely in poverty and littleness
on our sustaining and ever-present Love.
Despite the pride of the unfaithful,
—even seeming to submerge the people,
as a whole, in darkness and confusion—
the little ones cling in simple faith
and they can see the beauty
shining even in the brokenness,
our provident plan unfolding
through our promise of undying love.
Their names are not known to human history
but this does not matter to us…
for we know their names intimately,
lovingly gazing always upon them,
whom we have made so lovingly,
so uniquely, for union with Us.
All of these movements of history
come together into a harmony,
my Father, in the fullness of time.
In a single time and place, a single moment,
the chosen people, the community of Israel
is gathered together and distilled
into a single human heart.
The faithfulness of the patriarchs and prophets
and their importance within our plan
is wed completely to the littleness
of those who remain hidden from human eyes.
Yes, this one is the true Israel,
the Daughter of Zion.
This one is a Daughter of the Father,
a Spouse for the eternal Son,
and a Dwelling-place for the Spirit—
true Ark of the Covenant,
true faithful heart,
true icon of our Holy Church
which breaks forth fully into the world
precisely in and through her.
In her the Church is a person,
and only secondarily, from this,
is she manifest also as an institution.
In her the Church is the Bride we seek
and whom we have made for intimacy with Us.
In her the Church is the Mother
who carries and brings forth the faithful,
all the children who are, throughout time,
born from the font of our saving love.
In her humble “yes” to our Love,
in her filial and virginal acceptance,
the Church has the wellspring of her life
and the very core of her being
—which is simply intimacy in love
and the undying fidelity that blossoms in this.
Ah, beautiful woman, pure virgin!
You are a womb for the Son’s begetting
in the heart of time and creation
as I am the space of his begetting eternally.
In you I see the beauty of our Triune Life reflected,
and in you I can come to dwell,
bringing with me the Son himself,
made man in your womanhood
and made flesh within your flesh.
But first of all we come to dwell, simply,
in the poverty, obedience, and virginity
of your pure and humble heart.
Only from this personal, intimate center
does the rest of the mystery of our Church spread.
And it does not leave behind, for a moment,
the intimate personal mystery.
This is how our Church is not a mere institution
—though she is also this as well, incarnate in the world,
for only in such a way can she visibly bind together
all those whom we have called in love.
I choose the Apostles for myself,
and I entrust them with an office
sharing in my own authority.
I choose Peter as my Rock
who will be my Vicar on this earth,
and I entrust him with the keys
of the kingdom of heaven.
He is the visible center of unity
for our Church, the heavenly Jerusalem
present in this world.
Even in his human frailty and his sin
he stands within a mystery that is greater
than he is, or can even understand.
He is entrusted with an office that,
even when he falters as a person,
is sustained by our grace
for the sake of the universal Church.
And yet an office alone cannot be
the center of unity for our Church,
and so this office itself is rooted in something deeper:
in the personal mystery that upholds it,
while also transcending it in purity and love.
His being the visible center of unity
is held in the bosom of a greater mystery,
and there finds its meaning and illumination:
it is cradled in the center of all centers,
which is the Holy Virgin’s heart,
in which reposes our own Trinitarian life.
Yes, even when the “rock” of office,
because of human sin and infidelity,
becomes a “stumbling stone,”
we continue to sustain our Church.
And the little, childlike hearts
–hearts courageous in faith and love!–
still receive the nourishment they need.
But it may be that through suffering alone
are their hearts dilated to see beyond
the fractured face…unto the heart
of the Virgin Bride and Mother,
bleeding with sorrow for her children,
and yet carrying them still in love.
The mystery of Mary
is the true heart of the Church
–and this becomes incarnate
in the depths of every faithful heart
that says “yes” as she has done–
and this itself sustains the role
of Peter and the Apostles,
even when they are unaware of this.
And John, my beloved disciple,
is a kind of bridge between these two:
the mystery of Mary and the apostolic role.
For he too is a priest, a bishop,
an Apostle whom I have chosen
to share in the ministry of shepherd of souls.
But he also leans intimately against my breast
and listens to the beating of my heart,
abiding in the Love that is everything,
and enfolds everything within itself.
In other words, he connects,
in his childlike simplicity and virginity,
with the deep and central mystery
that burns in the heart of Mary,
and above all in my own Sacred Heart.
He too lives in filial and virginal receptivity,
welcoming at every moment
the outpouring gift of our Love,
assenting to be a little one
cradled in the mystery of our embrace.
Yes, and he receives the Virgin Mary,
my Mother and my Spouse,
into his care and the shelter of his love,
being sheltered, in turn, by her.