Put My Tears in Your Bottle


Put My Tears in Your Bottle

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As we walk along with the Lord, we pass through several stages of spiritual growth: During our childhood, we desire that our way would be paved with roses and smiles, that our life goes an easy trail. Because we then had carnal desires, we were annoyed with every hardship and grumbled if we were rebuked or disciplined. St Paul said concerning this, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it” (3) Then he warns us from being happy with this spiritual languor saying, “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting(4)

Then, as we grow and “take sweet counsel” with our beloved Lord, our relationship become more mature, we start to feel and yearn for His compassion, to be with Him and in Him. As the times when we converge become longer, we discover the path that leads to the new life…we discover the place of tears. St Isaac the Syrian says: “The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads to the new life. Your spirit begins at this moment to breathe the wonderful air which is there, and it starts to shed tears.”

Tears are a gift of the Lord given to those who fear Him. Spiritual tears have many motives: The first of these is the deep true love to whom you pray and of whom you meditate. During your muse you may imagine Him opening His arms and listening attentively to what you want to say, even before your lips utter it, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (5) You find yourself, then overwhelmed by the amount of love which your Lord have for you in His heart. Your tears would race your words … He knows what you want to say… He understands how you feel… He smiles at you, collecting your valuable tears in His bottle, as He cherishes them dearly; “You have ravished my heart, My sister, My spouse! You have ravished My heart with one look of your eyes… How fair is your love, My sister, My spouse” (6)

The second motive is the feeling of penitence and remorse. You may ask yourself, “What did my beloved Lord did to deserve hurting His feeling with all the sins which I disgracefully commit?” My Lord created me because of His immense love, and when I was sentenced to die as a just price for my rebellion against His commandment, He paid my price with His precious blood, and took me in His bosom as a cherished bride…He raised me from the ditch to His bosom, and rejoiced with all the heavens over my salvation… How could I disparage this great love and this grand redemption? “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (7) Could I avert my tears, while I am having all this sorrow consuming me?

The third motive is: tears with others, and tears for others: Many of our beloved friends become wretched by sorrow, either of hardships, or of the loss of a dear member of their family. Sharing their sorrow and tears is a divine commandment, “…and weep with those who weep(8) Sharing their tears is a valuable expression of sincere love. Though we believe that “…for there is no death for Your servants, but a departure” and that the departed will rise again in incorruption, because our Lord conquered death for us; and though we know that we should not “sorrow as others who have no hope” (9)…yet, we should respect people’s feelings and their chagrin…Departure is hard on the sole… Jesus wept in front of the tomb of Lazarus “then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”(10)… Tears are a sure sign of sincere love, we share them with the distressed while reminding them of our sure hope in the resurrection of the departed to a much better place… More than once, our affectionate, loving father, Pope Shenouda couldn’t hold his tears while praying in the funeral of his sons, the priests…

Lastly, tears for the others who are forgetting the issue of their salvation. We weep to the Lord furtively for their deliverance, to come to their help. Our motive for this is our true, sincere love without judging or blaming them in any way. We only ask in tears Him who died for their deliverance: “Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughters of my people(11)

The Lord said about the repentant woman that “ she washed My feet with her tears…for she loved much” (12), and the Fathers tell us that tears are“second baptism” which washes the dirt of the soul and body, and intercedes for us to the Lord’s compassion.

Emil Bishay

1. Psalm 56:8
2. Psalm 126: 5,6
3. 1Corinthians 3: 1,2
4. Ephesians 4:14
5. Isaiah 65: 24
6. Song 4: 9,10
7. Hebrews 10: 29
8. Romans 12: 15
9. 1Thessolians 4:13
10.John 11: 36
11.Jeremiah 9:1
12.Luke 7: 44, 47