Speak Lord: Speak words of love…

Catherine of Sienna

The first reading at Mass on the 22nd Sunday of the year comes from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah:

You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced;
you have overpowered me: you were the stronger.
I am a daily laughing-stock,
everybody’s butt.
Each time I speak the word, I have to howl
and proclaim: ‘Violence and ruin!’
The word of the Lord has meant for me
insult, derision, all day long.
I used to say, ‘I will not think about him,
I will not speak in his name any more.’
Then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones.
The effort to restrain it wearied me,
I could not bear it.

Jeremiah 20:7-9

The language of seduction and of sexual passion does not feature too much in homilies, at least not these days! Our religion tends to be a little anaemic and staid.

However the erotic has a privileged place in the scriptures and in the spiritual traditions of Christianity, and Judaism and Islam.

  •  How comfortably does such language fit your own relationship with God? Or God’s with you?
  • How does faith open you to ridicule? How to the approval of others? And of which others?

The painting of St Catherine of Sienna, is by Matteo di Giovanni and is in the collection of the Petit Palais, Avignon.

Photograph © Allen Morris, 2014.

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