Monasteries of the Heart

from my copybook 2

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In my last blog I said that I would occasionally share some of my favorite entries from one of the copybooks that I’ve kept most of my adult life. These quotes, poems, art pieces, and excerpts from books and articles have, over the years, functioned as my soul companions.

I also shared an excerpt from “Mark: The Lost Spiritual World” by Ruth Rimm and noted that I could have copied the entire book by hand. I’m not going to share the whole book but I’d like to do one more section from Rimm and it’s her commentary on the woman who touched Jesus and was healed (Mk. 5:25-34):

“The vast majority of commentaries on Mark are written by men. They usually claim that his Gospel is about persecution, suffering, crucifixion and death. They rarely share with you the real Good News in Mark: the healing power of touch.

Mark uses the word ‘touch’ eleven times—more than crucify (nine times), risen (two times) or resurrection (two times.) He implores you to touch not crucify. Touch not suffer. Touch not persecute. The Word is made flesh when you touch. You heal and become healed when you touch. But not only in the literal sense: to touch someone is to reach out with your heart. This is deep touch, the touch that can transform a life, forever.”

I wonder how different the Christian faith would be if we concentrated on this Good News. I think it’s an insight that Saint Benedict understood. He opens the Rule with the words “Listen with the ear of your heart.” That’s another way of saying “touch” another. The author also drew my attention to Michelangelo’s fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, “The Creation of Adam” and helped me see it in a whole new light. What a clear visual of the Good News: we create new life when we “touch” another.