Peter Cropper, a distinguished British violinist, had the opportunity of a lifetime. He was given permission to play on a priceless 258-year-old Stradivarius, a violin made the Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari in the late seventeenth century. However his joy turned into a terrible nightmare when he tripped and fell on top of the Stradivarius, breaking it badly. Peter was devastated.
A friend came to his rescue. He gave him the name of an artisan who was able to repair this broken violin so perfectly that the same soaring notes came out as melodiously as the original. You see, when the broken parts are placed in the hands of a master craftsman, he is able to transform brokenness into a masterpiece.
We are this broken violin. And the more quickly we realize it, the more chances we have of being healed. It is true we manage normally to hide our sufferings well. But hiding them from others, and sometimes even from ourselves, does not take them away. They remain. And they cause a lot of interior anguish.
This morning, I got up very early and the first email I read was from a couple in Hawaii who were grieving about their son who was caught selling drugs. Yesterday, at a Church social party, I was speaking with a pretty woman, quite young, still living with her family. I was shaken when she told me that she is divorced, and her son, also a divorcee, is living with her – imagine the pain of two broken marriages under one roof.
Is there a way out? Many believe that there is not. You have to simply take in what life dumps at you. Others believe there is. Somehow they realize that we cannot be condemned to live always like this.
A missionary was lost in the jungle. He found a native that promised to help him get out. They walked and walked, hacking their way through the forest for more than two hours. The missionary got worried. “Are you sure this is the way? Where is the path?”
The answer was loud and clear, “Bwana, in this place there is no path. I am the path.”
When John the Baptist is arrested and sent to prison, he finds himself asking a lot of searching questions about himself and his mission. It is his dark night. He hears about Jesus Christ and so he sends his disciples to inquire about him. Jesus just tells them to refer to John what they are seeing: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.
John the Baptist understood immediately. The Messiah had arrived. And with Him comes deliverance. Yes, there is hope for those who are broken! And this hope is Jesus Christ. He is the path.
If we are blind because we cannot see the love of God around us, if we are lame because we are paralyzed by our sins, if we are lepers because we have contaminated ourselves, if we are poor because we just do not have the inner resources to face life with all its problems, we can either close ourselves more deeply in the prison of self pity or we can look intensely at the door that is locking us in, knowing confidently that soon He will come and burst open the doors of our dungeon.
And He comes without any demands of reparation! We live in a culture that demands justice, the human justice – you have done something wrong, you must pay for it. Christianity offers us a new justice which is superior to the old one, the justice of the cross of Christ. We hate Him and He keeps loving us. We reject Him and He keeps running after us. He takes our garbage and offers it as a ransom to set us free. From sin He draws grace.
Once on the plane, I had this girl sitting beside me wearing a T-shirt with a gigantic lock and two blaring words just underneath that simply said “Unlock me!” Jesus Christ is the only person I know who can and who wants to unlock us so that all the energy and talents which are within us can gush out. Then we shall start living.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.