Thursday, February 27, 2014

At the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Three images dominate the vision of Knock: The Virgin, the Lamb and Saint John.  What could this mean for a group of New England pilgrims to the old sod?  What could God possibly have in mind for us in this venerable old place?

The scene, of course, is redolent of Calvary, where everyone had abandoned the Paschal Victim save his mother and the beloved disciple.  Its the scene we participate in at this and every altar: the offering of the Paschal Sacrifice which is the source and the center of all of life.

It is the mystery of faith which we proclaim at every consecration, a glimpse into the heart of God and his infinite sacrificial love for each and every one of us.

It is a mystery taught to us in three very simple figures, each one intimately familiar to us since first we learned to kneel down before a crucifix and pray: the Virgin, the Lamb, and Saint John.  Who are they and what do they mean to us?

The Virgin is purity, pure love…the unadulterated love of a mother giving birth to a child in a manger, singing a Magnificat of “let it be done to me according to your word,” of saying to us and to all the stewards of the world: “Do whatever he tells you.”  This Sorrowful Mother looks with love on a world exhausted by selfish filthiness and enfolds us in God’s pure love, making us whole and restoring us through the mystery of the incarnation.

The beloved disciple is adoring love, the kind that wants nothing more than to rest in Christ, that can find no place else in this world and so just stands there without counting the cost, seeking only to rest in him as the Precious Blood drips down upon him. And while we run about so desperately seeking to find others to worship us, the young John invites us to join him, to rest in Christ, seeking only perfect adoration and perfect peace.

For this Blessed Virgin beloved disciple know that this Christ is the Lamb, the one true Lamb once slain who washes away our sins in his Blood.  They know that he alone is worthy, the source of all power, wisdom, and honor and strength.  He is the Priest and the Altar, the giver and the gift, the one through whom all things were made and who will return to judge the living and the dead.  

So, what does this holy place have in store for us?  Only the quiet voice of God calling us back to that pure love and adoration which is the perfect peace for which we were made and which is our ultimate destiny.

Behold the Lamb of God!  And how blessed are we!