“Do Not Let a Single Drop Be Wasted: At the Cross with Mary”
“Part 2. Reparation with Jesus and Mary”
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP
We as a Church are now with Mary at the foot of the Cross, catching the drops of Blood falling from our crucified Savior. We receive these drops of love best precisely in our poverty and emptiness. We receive the saving work of Jesus for ourselves but also on behalf of others, bathing them with the saving Blood as we bathe them with our prayers. “Do not let a single drop be wasted!” echoes forth from the heart of our Blessed Mother into our heart. This Blood redeems, heals, repairs, and recreates the world, if only all would receive it. C. observed, “With each drop, a justice is released … like a memory healed, a demon leaving, a physical healing, a trauma healed, and so on. The Blood is the most powerful substance in the universe.” B. responded, “The precious Blood drops down into souls and into the earth, and salvation and righteousness spring up, as a sapling sprouting forth. It’s like the grain of wheat falling into the earth to die and bear fruit (Jn 12).” And A. pointed us to the crux of it all, “I think the heart of it is RECEIVE the LOVE poured out, for yourself and on behalf of all those who have not, are not, and will not receive it. Do this for Jesus’ sake (that the Passion might not be in vain), for their sakes, and for your own sake, that you might love Him by receiving His love.”
Part of what excites me about this conversation is that it may contain a paradigm for reparation for our own time. There were periods in the history of spirituality, when reparation was seen primarily in terms of justice, and there were even times when people made it sound like it was a vengeful God that they were trying to appease in offering reparation. We have largely gotten over this, thankfully. But as a result, has not the need for reparation fallen away from most people’s consciousness? Yet making reparation has been an important part of Catholic spirituality for centuries. “Offer it up!” still needs to resound in our ears. And as we enter into the inner core of it, we see that love is at the heart of it all. Why does reparation need to be made? Because God’s love has so often not met the response of our love. Drops of unrequited love call out for reparation. “Do not let a single drop be wasted!”
C. brings the theme of reparation directly into the conversation and links our discussion explicitly to the traditional Catholic understanding, through Our Lady of Fatima–one instance among others of Our Blessed Mother calling out to us to make reparation:
“I see the drops of blood going into the ground and cleansing all the shedding of innocent blood that is crying out from the ground. Again, justice is released of making wrong things right. When I read the story of Fatima, I found this prayer:
‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer you the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He himself is offended. And through the infinite mercies of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversions of poor sinners.’”
C. continues, “When I read about Fatima, I was overcome by the Holy Spirit in much tears. I was imprinted by this prayer and this prayer has become a living prayer such that since that time, I have prayed this so many times, day and night with my crucifix and rosary in hand. It is so holy and living in me that it is kind of like the monk who prayed only one prayer and he prayed it all the time… (Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!). This prayer has been for me that type of prayer. It is a prayer living through me day and night. Reparation is certainly paramount in His heart!”
A., then, insightfully overcomes a false dichotomy between mercy and justice in speaking of reparation; for, actually the mercy-love droplets fulfill justice in a superabundant way: “I don’t think I can express this well, but it seems that in receiving the mercy-love droplets (since mercy is love meeting one’s lack or defect) we receive the source of true, holy justice, God’s justice. And in receiving that mercy-love in an act of reparation we meet a condition for forgiveness, which has justice as its goal. Our acts of reparation then do serve our own love’s demand, but also God’s (True Mercy’s) requirements for both justice and forgiveness.”
It is right that this conversation works justice into the picture, as justice is attained when God’s plan and purpose is fulfilled in his creation. The need for reparation and the restoration of justice has to do with the created order as it is related to God. God’s wisdom has stamped creation with a moral order directed to Him, through the divine law and natural law. Sins disrupt this harmonious ordering to God, and reparation repairs this disorder. It’s like creation is once again made into a beautiful song to its Creator as the discordant notes are taken up into a higher melody through our love-filled sacrificial offerings. So the Crucified One, shedding His Blood, is at the center of reparation and draws us up into His own offering for glory of God and the salvation of souls.
A. observes, “The foot of the Cross is the true home of reparation. For God’s salvation is offered from the Cross and, for us, salvation is received through participation in the work of the Cross. In reparation we seek to make amends for the wrongs of our own and others and to beg God for ourselves and on behalf of others that we and they be restored to the truth of our being. This is accomplished, as St. Catherine would say, by the Blood, by the Fire of Love given in the Blood (Dialogue #127). All falsehood falls away before the utter Truth revealed in its highest beauty, the total self-gift of God!”
B. observes, “At the foot of the Cross with Mary, we behold the beauty of the total self-gift of God. And this sublime beauty draws us into the sacrificial offering of Jesus. There is something urgent about Mary’s request, almost as a pleading, as the salvation of souls are at stake. We are urged to share the Blood with others through Word and Sacrament. We are urged to make acts of reparation in union with (and subordinate to) Jesus’ Cross. Receiving the Blood entails being drawn into Jesus’ own sacrifice, both by our voluntary penances free taken on and those involuntary sacrifices laid on our shoulders. ‘Do not let a single drop be wasted’ also means do not let an opportunity for sharing in the love-offering of Jesus pass us by. We’ll be inspired to enter into acts of reparation, responding to God’s plan for us, if we but keep Mary’s call echoing in our ears, ‘Do not let a single drop be wasted!’
“Here’s a small example. I’ve been sick with a cold. Sitting in church, I felt as if I was receiving a drop of Jesus’ Blood that was permeating through my whole being, spirit and body, and enclosing me. The mild pain and discomfort throbbing through my body was like the Blood permeating further, being pushed further with every pulsation of His throbbing Heart. I accepted it with a fiat and offered this involuntary sacrifice in love to the Father, for the good of others. I was enclosed in and permeated by a drop of Jesus’ Blood and did not let the drop be wasted. My offering was surely small and imperfect, but that does not matter so much since it was permeated by and enclosed in the drop of Jesus’ Blood, which is the most powerful substance in the universe…and the most fruitful and life-giving.”
C. commiserates with these sentiments and ends on a Eucharistic note, which will transition us into Part Three: “I too have been drawn by the Holy Spirit into these painful, prayerful, places at the foot of the Cross asking forgiveness and in a place of repentance almost constantly because I see Him bleeding there, and He’s dying for all, yet so few even notice Him and fail to thank Him with their whole heart. This reality pierces me so deeply. This extravagant bleeding Love is hardly noticed at all. This pains me so much. I believe this sharing in His suffering is the way to union with God. I don’t see any other way that compares to this way: the way of the Cross.
“It pains me so much that people hardly notice the Cross and it’s barely preached at all. But I believe the Cross is everything and sharing in it however much He lets us, is our highest joy. This is the way to union. Those who suffer together are bonded at the highest level. Every single suffering, however small, is an opportunity to taste His blood and receive it as the most precious gift. Oh Jesus, My Love, let us give you all ourselves and not hold back anything! For You didn’t hold back anything to have us. Let us receive the chalice, deep in the wine cellar.”