Return to God’s word. Allow it to transform you. Notice how your faith is being deepened and your way of life motivated.
The emphasis for this phase of Visio is: “Becoming Christ-like.” We ask ourselves: ‘What difference can this text make in my life?’ ‘How am I challenged by this text?’
As I prayed with this text again, I returned to what I perceive is a moment of choice for the woman, as depicted in the bottom panel. Scripture doesn’t tell us what this woman’s life was like before this event. We don’t know what kind of life experiences, possibly even traumas, may have transpired which served to form her way of looking at herself and her world. We don’t even know her name. This particular passage is referred to as “free-floating,” in that not only was it not included in the earliest manuscripts of John’s Gospel, it also had been placed in different places within John, as well as within another Gospel, in later manuscripts. It seems to me that the story about this woman is as unsettled and rootless as the woman herself.
That sense of being unsettled, and facing a choice, is what I see in this woman…and in myself. In reality, we all are challenged on a daily basis to ‘choose life,’ and to walk past that drawn curtain into the light, with Christ. Every choice, no matter how seemingly trivial, can reflect our outlook on life. I do know that when significant pain or trauma has occurred, as it has for this woman, you can’t then ‘choose life,’ or ‘walk into the light,’ as if nothing has happened. Trauma changes us. We don’t transcend our pain, so much as we integrate its lessons into our very self, with Christ’s healing presence and touch. And this is what I see as “becoming Christ-like.” All throughout his active ministry, Jesus experienced — and integrated — the pain of rejection from family, friends, leaders within the Temple, and most of the people at large. All along, he faced the choice of continuing his mission…or not; all along, his pain served to deepen his love and commitment to us; and all along, his choices prepared him for his ultimate choice. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ‘chose life’ in choosing to stay true to his mission, to his love for God, and to his love for us. Christ knows how difficult and searing this choice can be…and he walks with us as we struggle to choose. For me, that’s becoming Christ-like.
How are you becoming Christ-like?
©Woman Caught in Adultery, Aiden Hart with contributions by Donald Jackson and Sally Mae Joseph, 2003 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.