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Margery’s Tears

The uncontrollable tears that flow whenever Margery worships or even thinks of God are a source of both difficulty and pride. She believes that God sends her tears, but she is initially unsure about how to interpret them. In a vision, Jesus explains the meaning of her tears. First, they are an outward sign of Margery’s deep love of Christ. As a symbol of Margery’s inner being, the tears show others the depth of Margery’s faith. They call to mind the suffering of Christ, who, in Christian doctrine, dies to save the souls of all people. In this sense, Margery’s tears are a symbolic form of prayer, worship, and teaching. But Jesus tells Margery that the tears are meaningful in another sense as well: by coming and going as unpredictably as a rainstorm, Margery’s tears suggest her complete dependence on God. By making her cry at his whim, Jesus is showing Margery that she is his “creature,” as Margery refers to herself. Margery is grateful for this rather difficult blessing, and her understanding of its symbolic value helps her whenever her tears draw hostile attention.