Eugenio Zolli, Chief Rabbi of Rome turned Catholic convert, on the divine value of tears from the heart

“Tears acquire value when they are not merely expressive of superficial emotion, but arise from the heart—a motus proprius of the soul, expressing interior grief or joy. Only such tears have a voice, a voice inaudible to the physical ear, and yet so powerful that it reaches God’s throne. …

“[The founder of Hasidic Judaism, Rabbi Israel, said:] ‘When the faithful enter [a house of prayer] to implore earthly goods, their prayers become like doves wrought of lead and painted to look real. They have wings but do not fly. Do you understand? But when one enters in order to say to God: “Lord, I love You, I love You very much. I love You so much that I cannot even tell you how much I love You. I only say: I love You, God who is Love! I am like an instrument that must be played upon, and you alone are the music-maker. It is not I who pray; it is not I who call. I only love, and this, my love, is Yours, this Love is You. In love I, who pray, die; and in You I rise again, and in You I live.” See, my son: these prayers are like living doves, pure and newly born; they take flight toward heaven … . And the power that infuses life into these doves is born of the tears of one who knows how to pray well Do you understand?’ …

“Did [Rabbi Israel] say exactly that? Exactly that? No.  Probably he spoke in words far more beautiful and lofty than mine. … I only write what I believe he said.”

Eugenio Zolli, Before the Dawn (via Google Books)

For more on Zolli and his remarkable life, see Stephen Sparrow’s article “Eugenio Zolli’s Path to Rome.”


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