After leading his Apostles out from the Last Supper
and down into the Kidron valley,
Jesus pauses among the olive trees
of the Garden of Gethsemane.
He tells them to wait here for him,
and takes three, Peter, James, and John,
with him as he walks deeper into the garden.
Then he turns to them and begins to speak:
I must go to them, penetrating their darkness,
in order to unite myself with them in their pain,
holding them compassionately to my Heart
and carrying them through the abyss
unto the bosom of my loving Father.
I have already come to you, my friends,
as the Light of your life and your enduring Joy,
and now I ask you to stay awake with me,
to watch and pray as this Joy becomes compassion,
and the Light illumines darkness in tender love.
You will not understand, you will not see,
for the darkness will obscure your eyes
and your hearts will tremble with fear.
But I ask you to abide with me, to stay,
and to offer your heart to me in compassion:
that in my loneliness I may have you here,
and that in my compassion I may have your compassion,
so that suffering hearts are woven together
through the sacrifice that they together share.
Ah, but I know that you cannot, that you will not,
for I must walk this path alone,
with none but the Father to support me…
You must first be redeemed by me, my dear ones,
by that gift which the beloved Son alone can give,
and only then can you suffer with me in atonement,
immersing your own love within the Furnace of my Love.
Yes, but then, from the heart of my ineffable solitude,
dear friends, I open a space where you can come to dwell,
sharing in the movement of my own redeeming love,
which has gone before, has consummated the gift,
and has thus opened itself for your participation.
You will falter now, my beloved ones,
as I go alone to overcome their aloneness,
but then the anguished loneliness and pain
will burst asunder to become a meeting-place
of hearts that consent to be pierced by Love…
the love that touches the heart’s deepest longing
and regenerates in it the capacity for love.
Indeed, I know that many will come,
throughout the history of my Church,
to stand in this place of loving compassion,
this deep solitude in which hearts are united,
woven together by the most radical shared gift,
yes, knit together by the thread of eternal Love itself.
Jesus steps away from the three Apostles,
about the distance of the throw of a stone,
and begins to speak openly with his Father:
The human heart in this world, my Father,
has become homeless through sin and fear,
through a loss of contact with enveloping Love,
with the Goodness, Beauty, and Truth cradling all.
The human heart feel a sense of displacement,
a sense of not belonging, being exiled far from home,
since the closed and fearful heart, the wounded heart,
is no longer open to the gift of Love freely given
and to the presence of God enveloping and inviting.
And indeed it cannot open itself again
by its own efforts or desires,
for it must awaken and be set free
through the gift of love from another.
But no human gift, no created relationship
is enough to break this circle of isolation,
to give a solid foundation on which to build,
to expand the heart to make contact, again,
with the Mystery that cradles the world,
and in so doing can truly give peace and rest.
I have come, therefore, from your bosom, loving Father,
from my eternal Home in your embrace,
in order to unite myself to them in their homelessness,
wandering as a vagabond within this world.
But this departure from my Home is not a departure,
for Love can never depart from Love,
nor the Son from the Father’s enveloping embrace.
And yet, and yet I can indeed plunge into their darkness
and take it as my own, bearing it in compassion,
suffering with them and for them lovingly
with a vulnerable, naked, and defenseless Heart.
In this way, in this way alone,
can joy and sorrow come to interpenetrate,
both expressions of love’s expansiveness
dilating the heart again to God and neighbor.
Or rather, only in this way can Joy
penetrate into the sadness of the world,
and touch the heart in such a way
so as to break it open to the mystery
which transforms sadness into holy sorrow,
a sorrow bearing, deeper, the flames of joy.
For sadness is but the experience of the enclosed heart,
looking at and nursing its own fears and wounds.
But joy is the dilation of love and trust
in which the heart directs its gaze to the Other,
the Beloved One who is the perfect Lover,
and thus abandons itself as a little child to him,
opening out from this place to love others too.
If this is true, then sorrow is different than sadness,
indeed as much as joy itself is opposed to selfishness.
For sorrow is but another form of love’s expansiveness,
of its dilation to God and its beloved brother or sister,
and thus is part of the twofold “passion” of love
that marks all true self-giving in this world:
this is the twofold passion of joy and of sorrow,
the suffering which is imbued with mysterious peace,
and the playfulness that gives itself in compassion.
But the broken human heart, sinful and afraid,
is unable to engage in this reality,
to open itself to the gift, and to give itself,
unless Love itself comes to rescue it.
It abides in sadness, in the constriction that suffocates,
until it receives the love of Another
who can draw near and break its bonds asunder,
reopening it to loving relationship again.
It is thus necessary for Love to go to this place,
to reach out to those who are outside
in order to draw them back home again.
It is necessary for Light to descend compassionately
into the obscurity of the night of sorrow and sin,
in order to illumine hearts lost in fear
and to show them the way back home again.