Contemplating Jesus

EXTREME LOVE

Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Enguerrand Quarton (1444-66) The Avignon Pieta

Jesus’ statement,“Do unto other as you would have them do to you for this is the law and the prophets,”  (Matthew 7:12) carries both a direction and an explanation.  The Golden Rule is a vital monitor for attitude, direction and action. But what is different from much of Jesus’ other teachings, is that he broke this Rule many times.  It wasn’t a law he needed to adhere to because he was drinking from a separate cup.  Human desires, needs and particulars were not to shade his mind on the course of his mission. Jesus surpassed The Golden Rule because he did unto others what others couldn’t dream of desiring to be done to them.  He even took it further than that – he did unto others what others didn’t even know they wanted done to them.  He exposed a far wider, deeper concept of relationship, illustrating how far the human heart, fuelled by God’s powerful love, can extend.  And even as he hung on the cross, in his final act of extreme love, he was to utter the words, “I thirst,” for this kind of love to survive and thrive as the binding force of unity among all humanity and all Creation.

Dutch mystic, Hadewijch of Brabant, (1210-c.1290) wrote:-

“No heart or mind could ever guess
How anyone looks with love on his Beloved
When Love has heavily burdened him with love;
He will not waste an instant’s time
Until he passes with love through all,
To gaze with fidelity on true Love;
For all his judgments must be
Read in Love’s countenance.
And there he sees clear truth without illusion
In many a sweet pain.”

(Trans. Mother Columba Hart O.S.B. from Hadewijch: The Complete Works p. 158/9)

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