Print Version March 8th, 2004
‘To us, Lord, the look of shame belongs …because we have sinned against you’. The look of shame is probably all too well known to us. Who among us is ignorant of failure and falsehood and the fear of being found out? The look of shame we know too well and the God who is great and to be feared. But shame can be cosy in its own way, an escape from life and love and risk and generosity.
What the gospel asks of us is altogether more difficult than shame—it is compassion, compassion and pardon.
In place of the tit-for-tat of shame and fear there is for us the reciprocity of compassion given and received, mercy given and received, forgiveness given and received, and—hardest of all—generosity given and received. To give is challenging, to receive … embarrassing. Especially to receive the way we are called to receive—full measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, great embarrassing laps-full of grace and goodness.
On retreat or off it, that’s the challenge: to be as generous in receiving as God is in giving.