Saturday, April 23, 2011

Your Mystery...within...THE MYSTERY

"Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." Words we know, and can repeat without thinking about them.
We can repeat them so easily, from the top of our head. Here is a hard question, “are they a real expression of what is our gut feelings?”. It is only when we pray from our gut, that our prayers are heard. We have to own our reality for there to be connection a with our God. When we do not pray from our reality, we are not known to God. Our God IS reality, and the closer we are to our reality the closer we are to God. As Metz says so very disconcertingly,
"Sinful flight from God begins with sinful flight from self, return to God begins with a return to self". That is to the person I really am, as God sees me
not as others see me. What a vast chasm lies between those two realities??? Honesty, with who we are in God's oh so gentle, loving gaze allows us to slowly embrace and accept who it is we really are.

That is our who spiritual journey. We never have to be anything more than we already are, the beloved daughter/son of our Heavenly Father.
A love revealed to us, in and through the Life and ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We have that saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt". We can and do become indifferent to our everyday life, and all of it's happenings. We will then lose sight of the Mystery that is being encountered, and lived out in our so called ordinary, familiar lives. We can become so indifferent to the people, places and events and never realize that it is in them we encounter the reality of what we say at Mass, “Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ comes again”.. and again, ever new. What a mystery, no wonder we have no repeat it so often? We have the expression in Ireland, “When you throw enough mud at a wall some of it is bound to stick". We then need to ask for the faith to see beyond the ordinary and familiar so as to grow in wonder, and in awe of the mystery that is hidden within us. As we grow in reverence of what we see, hear, feel, taste, and touch, we will be brought to the realization, and oh so slowly, that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ DOES come again, again , and again. We also pray that our lenses be cleared of all the garbage which prevents us from enjoying the freedom that is ours, because Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. This is the real truth of who we are as we live out our part in The paschal Mystery.

This life, this source of truth is aching, is demanding to be set free in our lives.

We must remember there was an earthquake before the Resurrection, and so it is with us. For us to really encounter the depths of the Paschal Mystery we must have our lives shaken. There will be an earthquake or earthquakes in our lives. Because of this, what we have built will be shaken to its roots and foundations. Maybe in some cases, there will be serious loss. This is not real loss, it is our encounter with temporal death, the loss of the illusion, so that Paschal life can be for us an ever deeper reality.

On my hike I see new life struggling to be revealed and add beauty to the harshness of the desert. That beauty will struggle to break through the hard-pan of the desrt floor. That emerging beauty will not be denied. The following is a quote I like, "If Easter says anything to us to-day it says this; You can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. You can nail it to a cross, wrap it in a winding sheets and shut it up in a tomb, but it will rise". Pain, betrayal, brokenness, weakness of all kinds, and the resulting unnecessary guilt, endless fear, and toxic shame are the caves, the tombs from which we arise. We arise to a new and better life. A life beyond our wildest imagination, feeling of freedom and happiness we have no words to describe. We come to discover the place of our wounds, is the place where our greatest gifts are revealed to us. There is great consolation in knowling, " the greater the wound the greater the gift”.

To paraphrase the words from The Exultet, "oh happy sin of ours that reveals to us such a faithful God. It is He who transforms all of our brokenness and betrayals, into the revelation of his abiding love”. Bonhoffer said, "guilt is the hardest idol to break down". This Easter allow ourselves, and I mean ALLOW, to be raised from the depths of despair and abandonment, that is where fear can lead us to, to the place where peace joy and love is ALWAYS ours. This is our share in the resurrected life. This is what it means to be risen with Christ, as the beloved daughter/son. A reality we must claim, and reclaim, because we can so easily lose sight of that reality.

The same power that raised the bruised, beaten, broken, betrayed, and abandoned Jesus, is the same power that is awaiting our fearful selves to surrender to our powerlessness to. We will say always with some reservation, “let it be done to me according to your will”.

The prayer of the crucified Jesus in time will also become ours, "Father into your hands I commend my spirit". It is here we join with Jesus Christ, and enter the blessed mysterious place we call the risen life.

What is this new risen life you will claim this year? Where are the places of brokenness that have revealed to you and we have discovered a strength you never thought you had or was even POSSIBLE. Claim all of that, as a real revelation of the abiding, faithful love of Your God. Where it sessms not possible, but the desire is there, why not say, "I believe Lord, help my un/disbelief”. Then love yourself enough to allow the Spirit of Wholeness to work mysteriously within you.

Would this be complete without some saying of Henri Nouwen? Here it is; “Our life is full of brokenness, broke relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with. How can we live with the brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful, except by returning again and again to God's faithful presence. "

There is something very consoling at the end of this Sunday's Gospel, speaking about the disciples of Jesus we read the following, “Remember, as yet they did not understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead". So when we are in that place of not understanding how all of this is going to happen, or has happened, we are in real good company.

"The Lord has done great thing for us; we are filled with Joy. Those that sow in tears.......shall reap rejoicing." What a guarantee???
A Wonder-full, awe-full, Blessed Easter to you all.



  2. Fr. Joe,
    Keep writing, you truly have a profound gift! It really inspires me and others in the faith community to read your blogs to press forward in our Christian life to be more like Christ.
    Truly in Christ,
    John Bell