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The Mercy of Kintsugi

There is an ancient Japanese practice called kintsugi (“golden joinery”). In this cultural tradition, when a piece of pottery or dishware breaks, the broken pieces are not thrown out, but glued back together and the cracks are painted in with gold. The broken pieces are valued and the artisanal treasure becomes even more cherished than when it had been completely intact. The repaired breaks are seen as especially beautiful.

Is this not the mercy of God? He does not dismiss or discard the broken pieces of our shattered hearts or the broken shards of our winding, wounding life stories. He gathers them all up carefully and glues them back together, painting in the cracks with the gold of His love, making our hearts and our lives even more beautiful than before the crash.

He shows us the original, living Kintsugi, in His resurrected Body. His very wound marks shine with luminous glory. We come alive in this hope, this promise for our broken hearts, for our broken lives, for the broken lives of our loved ones. The Master Artist is surely scooping up the fragments and mending them with more golden beauty than when we’d begun.

Jesus appearing to St. Margaret Mary, Church of San Michele, Cortemilia, Italy. Photo: Public Domain

Oh happy fault that won for us this shimmering gold leaf! May we enter into this Lent with trust in the One who sees our broken pieces and gathers them tenderly into His Heart. Day by Lenten day, let us surrender to our Bridegroom-broken-for-us, each shattered shard of our beings: our sins, our shame, our wounds, the parts of us that lie dormant, the voiceless parts of us, the parts paralyzed in fear. We are safe with Him. Every part of us. In the kiln of Jesus’ kintsugi Heart, He will glue us back together again, and all the cracks will become gold in His radiant love and resurrected glory.

Watch this beautiful video, Japanese Bowl by Peter Mayer:

Copyright 2023, Marian West

Marian West is a Catholic “heartist”, seeking to live the art of heart to heart in every encounter. She lives in Lancaster, PA, and is grateful to have recently opened a space called Marigold, offering the Grace of the healing arts. Marian is a modern dancer, vocal artist, licensed massage therapist and labor doula. In 2006, Marian received her B.A. in Dance from DeSales University and then received her massage training at the Swedish Institute in Manhattan in 2007. She served as a missionary with Heart’s Home in Brooklyn for 14 months, offering a presence of compassion to the abandoned, lonely, and suffering. Marian prays that the Blessed Mother be her heart, hands, movement, and melody to touch Christ’s broken body in our thirsting world.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. This is absolutely beautiful and just reaches to the dephts of my inner self. I have heard “the golden journey” story before but had forgotten about it. I am going to print this out and keep it to read over and over.

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