Friday, 2 April 2010

Running away or becoming hyper active - how do you respond to Good Friday

On Good Friday I often return to Charles Elliott's reflection and challenge in his book Praying the Kingdom where he encourages the reader to practise a form of one of the Ignatian exercises where you inhabit the person of Mary at the foot of the cross contemplating the crucifixion.
A harrowing experience, watching the one you have brought in to the world dying a dreadful and seemingly pointless death.
Elliott recounts two main responses to taking part in this spiritual exercise. Many men respond to the exercise by fleeing the scene, leaving so as not to have to contemplate the unbearable. Many women respond by trying to tear Christ off the cross, be desperately trying to do something to stop this terrible travesty of all that is good.
But we are called in the midst of a political spirituality to simply be witnesses to that which is terrible and awful, to dare to live with it - not accepting it, not running away from it, not believing that we can stop it - simply surveying the cross and seeing it for all that it is, the terror, the horror, the pain, the injustice.
Sometimes though it's hard to stop running, sometimes it's hard to stop doing and just be in the terrifying space of another's pain.