One Minute Reflection – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy Week, Gospel: John 12:1–11
Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard and with it, anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment…John 12:3
REFLECTION – “Anointing the feet of Christ with perfumed oil of compassion
I have already discussed two ointments with you – one of contrition, that takes account of numerous sins — it is symbolised by the perfumed oil with which the sinful woman anointed the feet of Lord: “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil”, the other of devotion, that embodies numerous blessings… But there is another ointment, far excelling these two, to which I give the name, loving-kindness, because the elements that go into its making, are the needs of the poor, the anxieties of the oppressed, the worries of those who are sad, the sins of wrong-doers and finally, the manifold misfortunes of all people who endure affliction, even if they are our enemies. These elements may seem rather depressing but the ointment made from them, is more fragrant, than all other spices. It bears the power to heal, for “Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7)
A collection therefore of many miseries, on which the eye rests with loving-kindness, represents the ingredients from which the best ointments are made… Happy the soul that has been wise enough to enrich itself with an assortment of spices such as these, pouring upon them the oil of mercy and warming them with the fire of charity! Who, in your opinion, is “the good man who takes pity and lends” (Ps 112:5), who is compassionate, quick to render assistance, who believes that there is “more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35), who forgives easily but is not easily angered, who never seeks to be avenged and in all things takes thought for his neighbour’s needs as if they were his own?
Whoever you may be, if your soul is thus disposed, if you are saturated with the dew of mercy, overflowing with affectionate kindness, making yourself “all things to all people” (1 Co 9:22) yet considering your deeds, like a discarded flask, in order to be always ready to supply to others what they need, in a word, so dead to yourself, that you live only for others — if this be you, then you possess the third and best of all ointments. Your hands have dripped with liquid myrrh that is utterly enchanting (cf Sg 5:5). It will not run dry in times of stress nor evaporate in the heat of persecution but God will perpetually “remember all your oblations and find your holocaust acceptable.” (Ps 20:4)”...Saint Bernard (1091-1153) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness, may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your only-begotten Son. May our hands to drip with the liquid myrrh of mercy to all our neighbours and may our hearts be ever open to forgiveness. Listen, we pray, to the prayers of Your Holy angels and Saints and grant that the Blessed Virgin may guide our steps in this vale of tears. Through our Lord and Saviour, who suffered and died for us, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.