Jean Baptiste Carpeaux. Pietà. Metropolitan Museum of Art
To grow, to be reborn, one must remain vulnerable–open to love but also hideously open to the possibility of more suffering.Anne Morrow Lindbergh
If we are to come face to face with God, we must first come face to face with the hideous vulnerability of Christ’s passion—a suffering love made manifest outside the city gate—Golgotha. Here, Jesus manifested Himself not as a god who is controlling, closed and secure, but rather as the God Who is open, vulnerable and real; the God Who yearns for us to the point of dying, but Who will never impose Himself.
Our wounds are healed and our hearts are softened only in the silent darkness of His divine vulnerability. To be renewed by such refreshing waters, we are asked to offer everything: a willingness to sink deep down into the muck and horror of that imageless nudity which is the Crucifix. To embrace the breathlessness of His agonizing affliction is to embrace a vulnerability so radical, so profound, as to silently absorb God’s pain, our own pain, and the pain of others. God meets us in the ruins of our broken hearts and gently rebuilds, recreates, and prepares a sanctuary of spacious vulnerability for others.
This vulnerability requires the strength to risk enormous pain, to bear the weight of our darkest times without defending ourselves or trying to escape, and to open ourselves enough to allow God to touch us in our deeply wounded places. It asks that we lose ourselves in the hope of finally finding ourselves. Again and again we are asked to change our thoughts from fear to deep acceptance and positive trust, remembering always the redemptive power of suffering Love that only the Spirit of Love enables us to embrace.
Accepting and loving ourselves is critical if we are to walk the vulnerable way with Jesus. Self-acceptance moves us to a deep conviction that God loves us as we are, that we can accept and even be grateful for our brokenness and offer it to others. God created us in love, meets us where we are in love, accepts us as we are in love, then calls us to be more vulnerable and accepting of others.
It is well to remember that our inner journey is not a journey into greater control and security. It is a journey into the powerlessness of the Lamb Who was led to the slaughter, the Lamb Whose vulnerability birthed new life; a totally new creation.
Might we enter together into this holy darkness of God’s divine vulnerability and meet the fiercest misery around us with His passionate vulnerability—a willingness to die so that others might live.