Loving the Hideous Blemish

Thomas Aquinas once wrote,

“I said to God, ‘Let me love you.’ And He replied, ‘Which part?’ ‘All of you, all of you,’ I said. ‘My dear,’ God spoke, ‘you are as a mouse wanting to impregnate a tiger who is not even in heat. It is a feat way beyond your courage and strength. You would run from me if I removed my mask.’ I said to God again, ‘Beloved, I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.’ And this time God said, ‘There is a hideous blemish on my body, though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being – could you kiss that if it were revealed?’ ‘I will try, Lord, I will try.’ And then God said, ‘That blemish on my body is all the hatred, evil and cruelty in this world.’

The New Jerusalem, the spiritualized, supersensible world of which we here in our gospel this week is actually being built now by this kind of love. It is being built by the faith, hope, patience, long suffering, endurance, courage and peace of heart that it takes to love God, fully in every aspect, even into the darkness of evil. For God is in all and with all and can be known only insofar as He is loved.

May our practice at the altar, may our practice of communing with Him who is love, give us true strength, true power – that even when we are betrayed, hated, falsely accused, or in some way come face to face with evil, we find a way to see through the mask. For the truly human task in not to eradicate darkness, but to redeem it by loving God in and through this night.

This contemplation is by Rev. Jonah Evans and is inspired by Apocalypse 22, the New Jerusalem.