|copyright R.W. Scott Birds in Flight|
THIS TIME OF YEAR IN MUCH OF THE UNITED STATES people take delight in the American Golfinch which is found throughout large parts of the country. In the summertime the male is bright yellow with black markings. The female remains hidden and less observable as she remains brown.
In the Middle Ages, finches of varying kinds were painted in the hands of the Infant Christ. As seen here the Goldfinch has a preference for thistle seeds which are symbolic reminders of the Passion of Jesus. Thickets and thorny brush are favorite places for Goldfinch nesting ~ imaging Jesus crowned with thorns.
The legend is quite tender: that the Goldfinch (like the robin) flew near the Crucified Jesus, and as it pulled a thorn from Jesus' crown, a drop of Blood stained the bird's head. The sign of that closeness to the suffering Jesus has been passed down through the centuries.
To be marked with the Passion of Christ it seems then that I need to draw near to the suffering of the other:
in my careful listening to the anxieties of the other,
in my non-complaint,
in my alleviation of suffering as I'm able,
in my prayer,
in not averting my eyes.