Faces of Prayer II

by Doretta Cornell, RDC

 

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you (that) from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. And yet behold the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.”

LUKE 22:19-22

 

In this scene, Luke shows us perhaps the greatest test of Jesus’ compassion. Here, at the moment in which he institutes the Eucharist, Jesus also addresses Judas as his betrayer. Jesus includes Judas even in this most intimate sharing of himself. He holds out to Judas one last chance to accept Jesus’ mission to reveal the compassion of God and call all people to live by that compassion, not by the legal but unjust ways of human society.

 

What must the face of Jesus reveal at this moment? What love in his gift of himself in the transformed bread and wine, symbol and substance of his presence and preaching! What sorrow that even the three years of ministry shared and this final sharing of Jesus’ very life have left Judas set against the way of compassion!

 

And yet Jesus loves him, even as Judas prepares to complete his bargain with the temple officials and hand Jesus over to them. The Divine Compassion of Jesus extends even to lamenting the suffering Judas will undergo for his betrayal (“woe to that man who will betray me”).

 

I feel the utmost grief for the sins of my life and the tears I shed were, it seems to me, solely for having offended or even pained the Heart of my loving Redeemer . . . I felt this in my inmost soul and when I think of such a creature as I am being allowed to wear the Holy Habit and to give myself to God by the three vows, it seems to me as if Divine Compassion has reached its utmost limit.

MOTHER MARY VERONICA

 

A recurring theme in Mother Veronica’s writings is her sharing in the suffering of God. She extends her compassion to the one who is Divine Compassion, grieving as Jesus must have when those who profess to be faithful followers fail to live in compassion. Mother Veronica’s wide heart is open to see not only the faces of the suffering children and young women she dedicated herself to educating, but also the sorrowing face of God, whose compassion is moved by those sufferings and by the human blindness and hardness of heart that cause that suffering.

 

Compassionate God, let me see your face, that I may be moved to compassionate action for those suffering from injustice and discrimination —

from the failure of compassion — in my time and place.

 

scene from The Last Supper at www.lds.org