The strong manly apostle, St. Paul, had a tender side to him and revealed it, from time to time, to his “children in the faith”. For example, in letters to the churches of Corinth and Philippi, he speaks about writing to them with tears (II Cor 2:4. Phil 3:18). But one of his better known quotes advises: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).
Christ Himself is the model for this. St. John the Evangelist describes a very emotional scene following the death of Lazarus, when Mary the sister of Lazarus falls on the ground weeping before Jesus, and her friends and neighbors are around her weeping as well. John tells us that Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled”. Then He asks where the body is laid, and when the people say “Lord, come and see” – Jesus breaks down and weeps. We are told that this is the shortest verse in the entire Bible: “Jesus wept” (Jn11:35).
Over the past few decades, billions of tears have been shed for unborn children. We can speculate that mothers have been the primary source of these rivers of tears simply because they are so close to unborn children, their lives more sensitized to tinier lives hidden within their bodies, their hearts listening for soft heartbeats signaling life close by.
Back in the early 1970’s, as the Pro – Life movement was quickening, there was a powerful photograph of a tiny unborn child removed as a result of an ectopic pregnancy – my recollection is that the people referred to it as “the teardrop baby”. The doctor who took the photo spoke about the remarkable effect this tiny unfortunate “unborn” child had on those present. But the image of an “unborn” baby naturally formed into a teardrop stopped people in their tracks.
Doctors tell us that unborn children feel pain (Watch Me Grow, by Professor Stuart Campbell, M.D., 2004). This is, of course, to state the obvious. 3D ultrasounds show unborn babies grimacing. Do they cry also?
Christ died for us, and no doubt He also shed tears during His Passion for us. In his Letter to the Galatians St. Paul speaks of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). In effect, St. Paul is saying that Christ ‘died for me’. We can all say this with confidence. Likewise, each of us can say ‘Christ shed a tear for me’. Which also brings us back to the unborn children – Christ shed a tear for each unborn child and loves each one personally.
Divine tears and human tears are a part of our lives now. The tear Christ shed for me is His tear of Hope for me. Because a great sign of the New Jerusalem is that God Himself will be with us and “He will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes” (Rev 21:3-4).
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