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.