REFLECTION: Our need to cry PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:58



Pope Francis reminded us of this need in one of his messages during his pastoral visit here. We have to learn to cry! Yes, we need it, not in the sense that we should always be crying, but that crying is somehow part, a significant part of our humanity, and yes, even of our Christianity.

As babies, we cry because that is how we communicate our needs to our parents and others. As babies, we are completely helpless and dependent on others. We cannot even speak. We just cry and practically the whole world comes to pay attention. There’s a certain, unique eloquence of babies’ cries.

And even if are already grown up, somehow we cannot wipe out all our state of helplessness and dependence. There will always be some reason to cry, because despite our best efforts, we will always be hounded by unmet needs, if not problems and difficulties, and some of them can be insoluble. We can even have calamities and disasters, physical and moral, and we cannot help but cry.

As lovers, we also cry. Loving and crying seem to be intimate partners in life. And that’s simply because loving is an increasingly demanding act of self-giving, a self-giving without measure, without limit. It can never be satisfied and contented to get stuck at a certain level.

This somehow gives us reason to cry. That constant striving to give more, to have more, to be more, which is what loving entails, will always lead us to cry. Thus, many love stories and love songs are filled with episodes of crying. And true lovers are unabashed about it.

In this regard, I remember songs like “Cry me a river,” “Crying in the rain,” “As my guitar gently weeps,” etc. They express sentiments in so intense and vivid a way that you can practically see and feel the heart of the lover and the beloved.

As children of God and Christian believers, we even have more reason to cry, because we cannot help but reflect Christ’s life that was also marked by crying. He wept over the crowd because he saw them like sheep without a shepherd. He cried when he saw the widow burying her only son.

In his prayers to the Father, he cried. That’s what happened in the garden of Gethsemane and right there on the cross, moments before he died. “Father, why have you forsaken me?” We cannot imagine those words spoken without tears.

And this is Christ already, who is both God and man. He could not help but cry too. His divinity did not detract from his humanity, and vice-versa. When Christ cried, he cried as both God and man.

Besides, Christ is always moved when people approach him crying. The sinful woman who gate-crashed into a dinner where Christ was and started to bathe his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair is proof of this. Christ told his sceptical host, Simon, that her sins were forgiven precisely because she repented much through crying.

Crying is an integral part of our humanity and Christianity. If we don’t cry, we would have reason to suspect that we are losing or at least weakening in our humanity and Christianity.

This is now a challenge to us because our present, dominant culture, especially affecting the young ones and the so-called go-getters, seems to altogether write-off the need for crying. For them, crying is by definition an anathema.

It’s obvious, of course, that we should not exaggerate the need to cry. We have to avoid being cry-babies, whining and complaining at the slightest touch of inconvenience. But it also is definitely wrong to go to the other extreme of avoiding crying at all costs.

We need to cry sometimes. It will be a sure and healthy sign that we are still human and Christian. If done properly, with the proper motives and in the right occasions, our crying will do us a lot of good.

We have to realize that we will always have reason to cry because we will always have an abiding need that cannot be fully met, and that is to be definitively with God. We will always be “poor in spirit,” as the first beatitude would put it, always in need of God. That’s the reason why Christ told his disciples to always insist in praying.

“Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.” (Mt 7,7) These words, if followed earnestly, will always involve some form of crying. We have to learn to cry!