30th July


Return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning for your God is gracious and merciful. Joel 2:12,13

When we die, we will not be criticised for having failed to work miracles. We will not be accused of having failed to be theologians or contemplatives. But we will certainly have some explanation to offer to God for not having mourned unceasingly… When the soul grows tearful, weeps, and is filled with tenderness, and all this without having striven for it, then let us run, for the Lord has arrived uninvited and is holding out to us the sponge of loving sorrow, the cool waters of blessed sadness with which to wipe away the record of our sins. Guard these tears like the apple of your eye until they go away, for they have a power greater than anything that comes from our own thoughts and our own meditation.
John Climacus Abbot of Sinai 7th century

David of Wales was ‘overflowing with daily fountains of tears’. This is how he comforted the mother of a dead boy. ‘Filled with compassion for human weakness, he approached the body of the dead boy, whose face he watered with his tears and restored him to his mother.’

When Cuthbert offered up the saving Victim (that is, when he celebrated Holy Communion) as a sacrifice to God, he offered his prayer to the Lord not by raising his voice but by shedding tears which sprang from the depths of his heart.

Grant me tears when rising
Grant me tears when resting
Beyond your every gift altogether for love of you
Mary’s Son.
Grant me tears in bed to moisten my pillow
So that his dear ones may help to cure the soul.
Grant me contrition of heart so that I may not be in disgrace
O Lord, protect me, and grant me tears.
For the dalliance I had with women, who did not reject me,
Grant me tears,
O Creator, flowing in streams from my eyes.
For my anger and my jealousy and my pride,
A foolish deed
In pools from my inmost parts bring forth tears
Old Irish (translated by Davies)