Thursday, May 8, 2014

The.......... Paschal........Mystery.....Just For Now.

We are now living our lives in the liturgical season of Easter time. This is a time, an opportunity, that is offered to us so we can be led deeper into a more meaning-full, and life enhancing understanding of The Paschal Mystery. This transformative process will only take place insofar as we welcome the mysterious workings of grace. Because it is a mystery, we will never fully understand what has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen in the depths of who we are. All I can say for certain is the following, The Paschal Mystery is alive and well and is the source of constant spiritual renewal. There is a constant Spring time, always blossoming forth, ever new. Renewal, however, always brings with it, a challenge. In order to be renewed we have to let go of something familiar, so that an evolving newness may  be revealed to us. I was a long way down the trail before this became a lived reality. Just because I was not aware of it,  that did not mean it was not happening. So much has happened in the living out of the fullness of the Paschal Mystery, that I was not aware of. I had to be enlightened. This is why an ever evolving understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism is essential. It is essential for growth, and the source of the courage to grow. It takes real courage, real guts to grow into a healthy spiritual being. I am far from it. Do not think that just because I write something then I have it, or practice it in my everyday life. Being able to write offers a great challenge to become what I write. Jesus Christ, and His way of living is the ideal I am striving to replicate, all the while knowing that I will ever and always fall terribly short. All I can have is the desire to follow in The Footsteps, knowing that He fell three times on the way to His crucifixion, and death. Falling is an essential part of the journey. I must get up again, and again. The getting up is not through any power of mine. The desire, the subsequent grace, the necessary power comes graciously from the constant giving hands of my Prodigal, Mercy-full, Compassionate, Lover.


          I am again, and again, forced to rethink and come to an ever new understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism. I was delighted to know that in the early days of the church Baptism was looked on as the Sacrament of "illumination." From my own journey, I find that I am in constant need of illumination. I need a light, and as I am getting older, a deeper brighter light. I need that ever so bright light to shed  ever new so as to  light up the place I am hiking/journeying through in the right now. I am, ever and always, in deep need. The Light illuminates all of my reality,  so that all that is being offered to me, in the "right now," is brought to consciousness. My need for light has been answered when the gift of The Light, was bestowed upon me in Baptism. The Light will light the way to an ever new understanding of the ancient Paschal Mystery. Since The Light is infinite, there will be no ending to the newness of understanding that will be offered. It is like peeling an onion. Layer after layer is revealed, and has to be dealt with. How often I have wished for an ending to this process of renewal, and transformation. It gets too much for the I, the ego. The ego gets scared by its lack of power and the journey into  uncertainty. There are times when I have to say ,"enough is enough," why can't all of this just stop, right here and now? That occurs when the light is so bright that it appears to the naked eye that there is darkness all around. It seems to me now, that as long as I have breath, this process will be a lived reality. A reality, I have to depend on grace, to embrace. Thank God, I do not have to like any of this. I have been taught, over time, that  it is not about liking, it is about acceptance. And acceptance is a process. To help with the process of acceptance I am assured, told that God will never allow us to be tested beyond our strengths ? Well I have to remind God  of the fact that He has more faith in me than I have in myself. So lighten up. A prayer that is not always answered. "Out of the depths I cry out to you O Lord, Lord hear my prayer," that works when prayed from the depths of emptiness, and powerlessness." O God come to my assistance. O, Lord make haste to help me" is another spiritual bromide for the upsets that are a guarantee.


                   "The Paschal Mystery, is a process of transformation within which we are given both new light and a new spirit. It begins with suffering and death, moves on to the reception of new life, spends some time grieving the old and adjusting to the new, and finally, ONLY after the old life has been truly let go of, is a new spirit given for the life we are already living." ( The Holy Longing) These words have been a great source of challenge and encouragement, for myself and many others. Each one has to own their own unique immersion into the Paschal Mystery. Jesus, Who became The Christ, through His Paschal journey is the example we have to follow. He journeyed once, forever, through the events we celebrate each and every year, and are lived each and every, now moment. These paschal events we LIVE each and every day. These every day events of ours, are  to joined with The Paschal Lamb's infinite sufferings, when we celebrate each and every Eucharist. Because of our Baptism we all share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. So every Eucharist is our participation in The Royal Priesthood. The only challenge we face is, that our Eucharist will only be alive only insofar as we make a conscious connection between life lived, and Eucharist celebrated. When this happens we have "liturgy without soul." To make this connection is not easy. It is hard work. That is why liturgy is called, "the work of the people." It takes effort, and time to connect our lived reality, with the reality of The Paschal mystery. If that connection is not made, or chosen not to be made, then we are choosing to live a life of isolation, and alienation. There is nothing worse than being in pain and feeling so very much alone. The reality is however, to believe one is really alone is to believe a lie. We may, and do feel alone, we may even think we are alone, but we are never alone. So says our baptism. The "illumination" coming with baptism reveals to us that we are the Body Of Christ, in a very mysterious sense. So as we suffer, so is Christ suffering in us, through us, and with us. Just as when Jesus Christ suffered we suffered in Him. In the life of the spirit there is no time and space.


                           Ever think about writing your paschal story? Ever think of writing your gospel? Well you do write a gospel with the daily actions of your journey to your God and with your God. Although unrecorded, your Gospel may be the only sacred book some people will ever get to read!!! Our gospel would be so  difficult to write, as it  would involve deep, deep honesty. We do speak about gospel truth??  We would have to get honest about all the sufferings of our lives. There are sufferings some have chosen to block out, deny, and suppress. This can last only for so long. Eventually they have to be dealt with. When a person is on the road to living a healthy spiritual life, and as a consequence, has the desire to live in freedom and not fear, roadblocks will be encountered. The roadblocks will be placed by people we would least expect to be a hindrance to growth. The family secret must be kept hidden at all costs, even if there is death involved. The Paschal Mystery teaches us this hard, and difficult wisdom, it is only through death can new life becomes a reality."Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies ..." We will have to choose to die, again and again, so that the full potentiality of who we are really called to be, is realized. This birthing of who we really are comes through a constant immersion into the pain and suffering, and into the subsequent  joy and freedom. There is no other way of coming to  have life, and have it to the fullest.