What’s ‘good’ about a day when an innocent and good man is convicted of a trumped up charge, betrayed and deserted by his friends, rejected by the people he spoke the truth to, physically and mentally tortured, crucified and killed?
The first vein of goodness is in his way of acceptance. When bad things happen we can try to deny them or they can turn us into bitter and hateful people seeking revenge.
Clearly in his case this did not happen. Out of what deep well of goodness and love in himself did he draw on to meet his oppressors with forgiveness and to embrace what happened with an equanimity of soul that turned the evil done to him into good for others?
‘Only God is good,’ he once said to the rich young man seeking eternal life but still entrapped by his possessions.
The other vein of goodness in today’s events is the transformative effect they have on others. It began at the historical moment they occurred and it continues, indeed continues to accumulate in its effect. Through today a new consciousness entered the human realm which has begun to undermine the very roots of the darkness in the human soul which allows us to do such inhumane things to each other by forgetting who we are and forgetting that the well of divine being is sourced in each us.
With most terrible things we breathe a sigh of relief when they have passed. In this case we see that it has much more to do to lift humanity out of the cycle of violence into which we fell and which is our original sin. A violence that is born of Cain’s anguished and illusory feeling that we are not loved.
On the Bere Island mountain a cross stands, still, steady, shining at night, silently faithful. Not far away from it someone has illegally put up a wind turbine. The windmill spins like the ego in the wind making short-term profit at the cost of a greater integrity.
The cross has greater energy than the ego and to contemplate it in our lives, to embrace its transformative effect, is what makes this Friday good.
Laurence Freeman OSB