See in Your Neighbour the Wounded Side of Christ

Contemplation is, of course, deeply related to not only God but the men and women he created. We cannot decide to go to God and leave our neighbours behind. That would be a violation of the charity which is the love of God that we seek.

So, then, we must love and have mercy on our neighbours, our family members, our friends, those we live with. Why? Well, for the contemplative soul, it is not only that this other person is another person; it is not only that Jesus loves this other person. It is also that in this other human being we seek to see Jesus himself, either actually present in his grace or potentially present (we know not which).

This is largely what Paul of the Cross says in a letter:

Learn how to excuse your sister and speak kindly to her… See in her the [wounded] Side of Jesus Christ and then you will love her with a pure and holy love. If she comes into the room, don’t show annoyance, but put up with her and then remain recollected in God in holy silence.

We contemplate Jesus in our neighbour, even the one that has harmed us. And that is not enough. The contemplation of Jesus in others leads us to love and be merciful towards them. Contemplation boils over into action. It makes action all the more desired, the more lively, the more true to God.

 

He Has Given Me a Mother

At St John Church in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Oh! how good it is to go and be consoled by him during the times when we feel only our miseries, and I am so full of them! Even more, the good God has given me a mother, the image of His mercy, who, with just a word, calms all the anguish of her little one’s soul, and gives her wings to fly away beneath the rays of the Creator Star.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880–1906)