Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter!

I love Easter, and I love that as Catholics, we celebrate the Easter season, not just the day. We'll be alleluia-ing like crazy until Pentecost. Gotta love that....

There's a new feature on the blog...I added a "what I'm reading" spot. The current link is a book I picked up in response to the "Consider the Source" post from a couple of weeks ago. I'm loving it, but it's a challenging read. If I can get through a whole chapter at a sitting, then I'm doing well. Usually it's just a couple of pages. So very much to think about!

So what are you reading now?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

While we wait...

This is from an ancient homily on Holy Saturday, and is part of the office of readings for the day. The Liturgy of the Hours is a distinctly Catholic thing, but this reading speaks to all of us who wait, poised to celebrate the Resurrection tomorrow morning. I was so moved by it that I wanted to share it, and hope that you are blessed by it as well.

Something strange is happening -- there is a great silence on Earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him, Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all." Christ answered him: "And with your spirit." He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

I am your God, who for your sake has become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home in above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Consider the Source

I've been accused of not existing outside my own mind. That's a stinging observation, to be sure, but Grandma always said "consider the source." Considering the source, this deserved some serious reflection (proving the point, perhaps?). The more I've reflected, the more I've had to admit that it just might be correct.

I've never been the physical type. I'm not athletic or particularly adventurous. My physical interaction with the world around me is limited to things that help me relate to the non-physical. I'm the spiritual, thinking, feeling, contemplating, theorizing type, and I've always considered the mystical and the eternal to be superior to the concrete and temporal. I've even caught myself (God forgive me!) resenting the immediate, here and now realities that claim my attention and my energy because they take me away from the "things that really matter." But here's the kick-in-the-teeth-reality-check of the day: Christ embraced humanity to the point of becoming human. The God of the universe deigned to encompass His deity in human flesh -- to step into the temporal, physical world and walk among us as a man. He was raised in a traditional Jewish home; isn't it reasonable to assume that he was taught Joseph's trade? He hung out with fishermen; isn't it probable that he did some net-hauling along the way? Jesus laughed, cried, worked, played, celebrated and mourned...as a man!

I don't do well with managing my time or my tasks...the time seems to get away with the tasks undone, or ten other things demand attention and my "did it" list at the end of the day looks nothing like my "to do" list did at the beginning. I get so frustrated with things that seem so easy to other moms but that I can't seem to grasp. I can read, research, write, and plan, but in the practical application, I always seem to miss the mark completely. I've never been able to marry my contemplative personality to the practical necessities of my world, no matter how hard I try. Perhaps it's time for a new approach....

If I am to truly embrace Christ, mustn't I embrace his humanity just as fervently as I embrace his deity? He is fully God and fully man, body and blood, soul and divinity. No element is extricable from the others. I have to look again at this savior of mine, and open my heart to see him more clearly.

We are on the cusp of Holy Week, and I am challenged in a new way. Fully human, the God of all creation bore the entirety of human suffering and sin, obedient even to a disgraceful and gruesome death. Can I embrace Christ in his humanity now? Can I see what was here, temporally present, and embrace it rather than looking past it to the resurrection? The battle for salvation was won on Sunday morning, but it was fought at its fiercest in the garden, before the Sanhedrin, and on the cross. Is Christ in his humanity the key to my freedom in mine? Consider the source....