Traversing the crest and trough of life it is probable that our hearts may become hardened. Yet we should strongly refuse this temptation. We are to constantly keep our hearts moist with – to use the words of St. Isaac of Nineveh – “hidden lamentation and tears”. St. Irenaeus beautifully puts it; “Offer Him your heart, soft and malleable, and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you. Let the clay be moist lest you go hard and lose the imprint of His Fingers.”
Cross is the shadow of every Christian and therefore vulnerability ought to become our vocation. The word vulnerable is derived from the Latin “vulnerabilis” which means “susceptible to wound.” We worship a God who was “wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities” (Is 53:5). St. Ephrem calls Christ “the mighty one who put on vulnerability.”
Thus if we desire to partake in the Passion of Christ we are to keep our hearts moist and expose our lives to be wounded for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what love in the purest sense means; withering away oneself in the service of others for the sake of Christ. As C.S. Lewis remarks; “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.”
We should never dread to be wounded and broken for “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 34:18, 147:3).” The scars and wounds that life inflicts upon us become the very site from which our salvation springs. Unlike the Latin Western tradition, Syriac spirituality perceives salvation in a medical conceptual framework wherein Christ is the healer or to be more precise “the Medicine of Life.” I conclude with the words of St. Ephrem;
“Let Eve today rejoice in Sheol
for her daughter’s Son
has come down as the Medicine of Life
to revive His mother’s mother.”
Dayroyo Fr. Basil
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