"God of all compassion, Father of all goodness....when weakness causes discouragement, let Your compassion fill us with Hope.....lead to the beauty of Easter joy. Let us keep that in mind, we are praying for Easter joy. That is a particular joy which comes, from us being immersed in the Paschal Mystery. We enter Easter joy, as we leave behind the suffering, and death of the false self. This is a real crucifixion. A crucifixion, where we join The Crucified One, as He went from 'My God my God why have you abandoned me" to “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” There is no Easter joy apart from that journey with the suffering, historical Jesus. That is how the historical Jesus became the Christ of God. We cannot become Christian, unless we follow Him, whom we have been called to be, to that place of suffering, and death. This suffering like all suffering, is a mystery.
This mystery has a name, it is called the Paschal Mystery. It is an essential part of us, who are called Christian. This is what Our Baptism call really means for us, on a daily basis. It is only on a daily basis we can enter into and gradually understand this mystery. This will lead us to gain a personal insight as to how we are living out this mystery. You have heard the saying "Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived". This why we have Lent. This mystery is so vast, and personal, we spend 40 days (LENT) preparing ourselves to celebrate the Paschal mystery. We will take three full days to celebrate [Tridium]. Then we will have another 50 days to come to a new, and more life-giving understanding, as how we encounter that reality, in the reality of our everyday living.
The Paschal Mystery is about death, dying, and entering NEW life. In is not the same as terminal, death. In terminal death, there is death, once, forever. Paschal death, on the other hand is a death we enter again, and again. The pain goes deeper, and the new life we are led to becomes more and more joyous, not necessarily happier. That sounds weird? I have had a great deal of trouble becoming reconciled with that one. I have come to the belief, that it is true. All our pain and suffering, is actually the suffering of Christ, within you and I. Our God suffers in us, through us, and with us. We NEVER suffer alone. We may think it, we may feel it, but at our deepest reality, it is God and us who are doing the suffering. The suffering of the MAN-GOD, led to a new life so our association with Him, and our participation with Him leads us also to a new and transformed life. The pain of death gives way to new life. The pain is not really a death pain it is a life giving pain. It is the birthing pain of you and I, as we enter into the reality of who we really are, in God's plan. This is the pain of the desert journey. The pain of the desert journey leads to the far greater pain of Gethsemane. It was there that Jesus in His loneliness and fear asks that the chalice he will have to drink of, would be taken from Him. We were there in that suffering. We were also present in His body in the excruciating pain of the abandonment of the cross. We were there in His body, so now as we continue the suffering of Christ as His body, He suffers with us. Where He was, we are, where we are so He is. Mystery, to be not understood, but entered into with reverence.
The prayer of this week provides us with the strengthening hope necessary for this journey. Our journey into death, dying, and rising to new life in and with our Savior, Jesus Christ. For me, this is one of the greatest prayers of the whole year. Type it out, and place it in a place you can see it on a daily basis. Say it and reflect on it each and every day. Why? Because it is in our everyday living we constantly encounter the reality of the mystery, so it is each and every day we need this great reassuring gift.
"May our faith, hope, and love, turn
Hatred to love, conflict to peace,
death to eternal life.
This then is the other, "E", of desert. This “E” stands for EFFECTS. Our desert journey brings about, a radical change within you and I. It is a real encounter, with all that it means to be a limited human being, in the crucible, of our every day living. This can and does, when allowed, bring to you and I a peace which is beyond all understanding. We are led through the many deaths, we endure in our daily living, to the real life of our union with Christ. This life reveals a new light into the sacramentality of every moment. This daily encounter with the sacred in each and every person place and event (sacrament) will bring home to us, the great love our God has for us. This love will come to us, not in the people, or places we expect, but in the persons and places we least expect. The Spirit of The RISEN blows where it wills, and we will gradually, and oh so gradually, come to see and accept that reality.