Whatever we have seen of love here is, I’m as certain as any mere mortal can be, magnified a zillionfold in God the Father — in Whose image and likeness we are made. Image, yes, in some mysterious Adam-Jesus way — and some perhaps not mysterious way, for the Jesuits tell us that we, too, will behold His begotten Son’s eternal yet human scars of love — o, we will know as we are known, but likeness? How are we like God?
The little reminiscence about Peter giving in to mortal fear (in the post below) made me think of what I didn’t say: That the Lord groans over our plight. And groans with us. We have it in Tradition that the Holy Spirit, The Paraclete, as our advocate, groans in prayer. And where Mary and Martha and those with them cry over Lazarus’ death, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Scripture tells us Jesus was deeply troubled in spirit. I do believe He groaned then, too, and thus, that day sinking into the water when Peter reaches out and shouts, “Lord, save me!” I can’t help but hear Jesus groan.
We’ve all been in that devastating time when there were no words and there was no point in words: all that escaped us was a groan. Our groan is of helplessness in the face of suffering and death of His beloved creations. The Lord’s groan is not of helplessness.
I was a few rows from the front one day at Mass when Father B was celebrant. He couldn’t see what we could — a fellow parishioner who had been losing ground, who was skin and bones and whose clothes hung on him, now, balding and yellowed and leaning on a crutch for every painful step in the Communion line. Father B is someone for whom, no one would disagree, there is a quiet spot in between Jesus and Mary with his name on it. When the line cleared and our dying friend became visible to Father B, we nearest heard a groan escape him as he hurried toward the man to save him a few steps. Rushed to him with Jesus, as did Mary to Elizabeth.
And yes, we are like God. In His compassion. Terrible, terrible groans of compassion that could say in all Honesty, “How I have longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” “Do this in memory of Me.” “I go to prepare a place for you… and I am coming back to you, to take you to Myself, that where I Am, you will also be.”