Maybe the time has come. For over 10 years, I have been researching, speaking about, writing about and praying with the topic of reparation as an outgrowth of my religious community's charism and mission. Because of its somewhat persistent antiquated and negative connotations, it never was a topic I felt I should write about for an audience beyond folks already familiar with my community, despite multiple suggestions to do so. Until now.
Oblate Fr. Ronald Rolheiser recently wrote, "Sometimes darkness just has its hour." Without allowing for a complacency that borders on a that's-just-the-way-it-is mentality, this statement of Rolheiser's recognizes that evil is in our midst: Evil acts have been perpetrated against the innocents, who have been ignored by the very shepherds ordained to care for the flock. There is something very, very wrong in this church entrusted with the mission of Jesus Christ. The body of Christ is suffering — and the heart of Christ is broken.
Reparation is an aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that focuses on this heartbrokenness of Christ. A common prayer intention spoken aloud in my religious community is: "in reparation for all the ways we break Christ's heart."
Reparation is a tender response of love motivated by recognizing the heartbrokenness of my beloved. Right here and right now, the broken heart of Christ is evident in the wounded members of his body, most especially the victims of sexual abuse and the victims of abuse of ecclesial power.