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Sometimes, my heart is breaking for a friend, or I have pain of my own to bear. Often, the tears are joyful. The sight of a baby can bring me to tears, or of a dear friend. My tears may be both sorrowful and joyful at once.
More often, though, my weeping begins and ends in the Mass itself – without reference to the circumstances of life, or the people around me. I’ll just be heart-pierced by the reality of the Real Presence of Christ, or the nobility of the priest as he reaches up to bear the Unbearable Beauty for my sake. The words to a hymn, or psalm will pierce my soul. The beauty of Christ’s people – His Body in the world – often breaks my heart wide open. I’m struck with affection for all these people, in every sort of ‘distressing disguise.’ Size, age, handicap, crummy clothing, beauty and finery, tattoos, attitude – none of it hides the glory that seems to shine through in those first moments after they receive Christ in the Eucharist.
Sometimes tears begin with contrition for my sins, or with a particularly urgent prayer request, but for the most part, they signal that I am deeply affected by the actual people with whom and through whom I’m to realize Christ in the world. He remains in me, within His Church, and I remain in Him by building community with these people. It’s an amazing reality that moves me to tears!