I stood in the grocery line and wondered why the cashier was ignoring the customer…
As I reflect on the presence of God and His working in my life I become aware of His ever-constant attributes; His personality. I am also gifted with a gradually deepening understanding of what I have begun to call “Incomprehensible Truths.” It’s as though my spiritual journey is a spiraling path. I began at the furthest end point from the center and am slowly, often painfully, walking to the center. I believe I will not reach the center on this earth and that is okay because this journey is a gift in itself.
Incomprehensible Truth #1
Jesus stands waiting at the altar and calls to me, “My Beloved, arise and come to me. Set Me as a seal on your heart and we shall be One.” This truth is incomprehensible in itself and one I have struggled to believe but as the spiraling path curves… Jesus shows me more. He is standing waiting for me at the wedding altar in this moment but He was also there yesterday, last week, two years ago, ten years ago, every day, every moment of my life beginning at my baptism. He has seen me, loved me, been ready to be One with me since the beginning of my journey.
I have kept Him waiting. I have turned my face and my feet away from my Bridegroom for many reasons – shame, disobedience, earthly pleasures, fear, to name some. I think it was shame that pierced me to the core and distorted my image of my own identity and then paired with fear my knowledge of Jesus was distorted. When I would read certain Scripture verses I immediately experienced a visceral reaction, sometimes a wave of nausea, tears, and actually hiding my face and thinking “No Jesus, don’t look at me!”
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. – Song of Songs 4:7
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. – Song of Songs 2:10
Attempting Ignatian contemplation of Scripture and imagining myself in the Gospel stories was helpful until I realized that every time the narrator told me to imagine Jesus looking at me, I had that same visceral reaction. It was torture not a loving encounter with my Lord so I stopped.
But today, as I lay here sick in my bed forced to take time to be still and pray, Jesus gifts me with a beautiful healing image. He is carrying me in His arms as though He were carrying His bride over the threshold and He is running around this spiral path inward, towards the center. I am laughing and weeping with joy! My heart is singing with delight in His pure Love! And this Incomprehensible Truth suddenly seems so evident…
Jesus has never seen me, called me, thought of me as anyone other than His Beloved. He has stood patiently lovingly at the altar, the Eucharistic altar and figuratively the wedding altar, waiting for me to realize that He has never faltered. He willingly would have accepted my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body, even in those years of utter darkness and confusion when I was wounded to my very core believing that I was impure, not enough in any way, shameful, damaged beyond repair, and not worthy or deserving of anyone’s love certainly not the Savior’s love.
And He willingly and so patiently waited, already holding me in His heart, through all these years, a lifetime, of fearing Him, of fearing love because He might hurt me, use me, discard me the way I had come to know love in my imperfect human relationships. I thought I had to be flawless, unbroken, unblemished, perfected before I could run to Jesus, before He would genuinely look at ME and say “Arise, My Beloved and come with Me. You are beautiful, without flaw, and precious to Me. Together we will be one.”
But here’s what I think is really the Truth… I do not see myself as Jesus does. With the help of His grace and mercy, I am getting glimpses of who I am in His eyes. And He doesn’t name my “flaws” as reasons to turn His face, His Heart, from me. My “flaws” are my human condition and He became human so He can say to me “I know… I know how you hurt, how you suffer, how you try so hard. But your soul and your heart are beautiful and flawless because you love. You love faithfully, fruitfully, totally, and freely. What you see as flaws are opportunities to offer yourself the same love you give to Me and others.”
As I rest in His peace and let this beautiful Truth soak deeply into the cracks and crevices of my heart, a new image comes to the eyes of my heart… . I see Jesus, the Bridegroom, radiant and smiling, with arms outstretched standing before a church altar. I see a line of women in white flowing gowns standing at the back of the church where a man’s hand and a woman’s hand lace the backs of their garments. As they are clothed in dignity and grace they process up the aisle to their waiting Bridegroom.
And so here is Incomprehensible Truth #2…
This unfathomable unconditional overwhelming Love Jesus lavishes on me is the same love He offers to everyone… every single human being. It truly confounds my mind and makes my heart burst! I have a burning desire to run up a mountain, maybe just a hill today, and shout it to the world. “Your Bridegroom is here waiting for you with a Heart full of Infinite Love! Come and fall in love with the One Whom your heart has been seeking… the One Who is the true Bridegroom of your soul!”
Copyright 2020, Laura Ercolino