By Esther Caswell, reprinted with permission from her blog.
Jesus, we need to talk. Like the prophets of old or the Psalmist, I need answers to my complaint. My heart is racked in pain. I need you to answer me. Hope in you becomes my instrument of torture in this regard. Please apply the salve of truth.
Who are you to those who heard our cry as Bridegroom and who innocently followed you, who left everything behind and prostrated themselves before you giving you everything, these ones who entered your Church believing it was a Mother, a place of belonging only to be told in your Name that they were excluded, unfit, unwanted and unredeemable? Those who were tortured during lonely nights and told in the day to keep their selves tucked in and their brokenness hidden, that their love would cause harm. Who were told that any love they needed would come from you alone and reminded through correction how they ought to sit and stand and kneel when they pray? Who were told to spare the dramatics of tears in your presence like Eli told Hannah of old? Those who only wanted you and were told by the “voice of God” that they were not enough? Whom do you choose Jesus? What of these rejected? Are they like those who came to the wedding banquet improperly clothed and are now subject to wailing and gnashing of teeth? How is it that thieves, prostitutes, and public sinners are promised your Kingdom but these tossed away? And when they are tossed away because their white knuckles could no longer hold the death grip, who is there to catch them? They are regarded with suspicion and punished by all for falling off a pedestal that somehow the Church needs. Even the divorced woman in the back pew is better understood because we can all allow husbands to be weak.
How many now to prove their worth to you by a strange kind of “forced labor” for your Church, their own private Gulag, through work is their salvation? Some hold themselves to even higher standards as if all the good work and prayer could somehow wipe out the shame of being unwanted by YOU. Others already feeling the condemnation, fall the other way in despair hoping to find something that will numb the pain of this rejection. Like soldiers back from war they are mentally tortured by making sense of what does not make sense, by trying to find the God they only wanted serve.
I do not make this appeal to anyone but you because you know those of which I speak. You know well. Can you please tell me your heart breaks too? Please tell me, Jesus, that this is not you! Jesus, come to all those who have been wounded by your mediators. Come to those who find it hard to breathe in the presence of innocent enthusiasm for you because to them it represents the way the pain began. Come to those who cannot trust themselves or your voice in them because that place has been broken. Because they did and it led to their demise. Come to those who feel like they asked for a fish and were given a snake. Jesus, come to those who even still have made attempts to come to you and were turned away like a disease that can be caught.
Jesus, Abba, Holy Spirit: Tell me this is not who you are! Please I beg you, make it clear. You are God, I will follow no other but if I may claim my intimacy with your cross as my authority and remind you who you are. You are the God for the weak and abandoned who forgave the thief as you died. You defend the orphan and the widow, and Lord please your rejected bride! Jesus, I need you to go find them in their places of darkness and shame. I need you to bath them and clothe them. I need you to restore the integrity of your name. I come like Esther before the King. Jesus please, act on their behalf.
You and I both know there is no other way. You have to go yourself or send your Mother. No one in your Church seems to understand these ones and perhaps it is because they do not want to admit the Bride is broken because they will need more Faith in you.
oh, how this speaks for me
Oh this describes what I struggled with for a long time, what still continues to hang on. Lord Jesus come, be our strength and our shield.
Wow! I have been out of religious life for over eleven years. I’m married and have children now. I spent six years in a convent and six years in a monastery. This completely says it all. I chose to leave the convent and have my temporary vows expire in order to enter the monastery. I did not leave because it was too hard or that I was dealt with so cruelly (though I was-other sisters even said as much). I knew Jesus was calling me to the monastery. It was so peace-filled, yet still much of what you describe. Though, I was allowed to cry and usually my Novice Mistress was understanding and consoling. Still, I, too, was told any love I needed would come from Jesus alone. No friendships at all. I do understand *somewhat*. Particular friendships can take one away from the vowed life-one has to be very careful. When I was told the council voted that I should not receive Solemn Vows-which meant I had to leave the monastery-I was completely broken. I had done everything and knew Christ had called me. Even my Novice Mistress believed so. She fought for me. Her vote was not enough. There was no appeal.
There is nary a landing place for us when we are sent home or leave. Our Holy Mother the Church is lacking greatly in this respect.
I am a daughter of the Church. I remain at our Lord’s feet. Yet, I am still haunted.
I pray for all those like me. It is a suffering like none other.
It’s not Him. It’s His people, who, often with the best intentions, create a “cookie gutter” to distinguish between the elect and the non-elect.
O find comfort in a story written by the British Christian author Adrian Plass. In it he describes how a person tried to revert the church and is barred by enthusiastic people telling him how to be to be fit to see The King, and upon realising her can’t be what they tell him he absolutely HAS TO BE, he turns away. Leaving dejectedly he meets a man with sad eyes and a loving smile, who says to him:”I am The King. They didn’t accept me either.”
My phone inserted some typos 😅 it’s “to enter the church”