Deacon Blog May 23, 2021
I’m sorry to disappoint but this is not an article about single cup coffee makers. It’s not Keurig, but Ker-ig-ma… proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray this past Lenten, and now Easter season, was a time of peace that brought you deeper into the mystery of a close personal relationship with our Savior. The rituals of entering and experiencing (from a distance) the Passion of our Lord and celebrating HIS Resurrection are meant to be a time to renew our baptismal promises and hopefully discover the awareness of what’s been done for us by a GOD who loves beyond our imagination. The Passion of Jesus is a mere glimpse into what GOD has in HIS heart for humanity. HIS desire, HIS longing to be in communion with us is a force so powerful that it created the world we live in. If we can find a way to reside in this reality, the glory of GOD will unfold before us. This reality, the “oneness” referred to by Jesus, is the coexistence between HE and HIS Father. It seems a bit “high Christology” but it actually is more intimate and personal than we might think. If we read the lives of the saints, we easily see broken and flawed human beings who somehow managed to open their minds and hearts to this truth, and it transformed their lives. How can we navigate the messiness of our lives to be holy ourselves? What are the understandable efforts we can make to set ourselves firmly on a path of holiness ? If we have lost it, how can we reclaim the Joy promised to us through baptism? This is the work of the Church.
If we ‘distill’ LENT down to a central theme, it is to bring us into an ever-present mindfulness of the LOVE of GOD. For HIM, it is all about us. At its most basic experience, for us, it is ALL about restoring a personal, intimate relationship with a GOD who’s Love we cannot even fathom. Somewhere along the way, this “Love story” was high-jacked and became a message of humanity’s failures. The focus shifted to the mechanics of a spiritual life and away from the poetry. Please don’t misunderstand this point. The rubrics and devotions of our Faith are sacred and guided by the Spirit of GOD, but knowing an “owner’s manual” and driving the car are two different experiences. Much like learning the biology of a forest is different than a hike in the woods. All the sacrifice, the prayerful devotions, and especially the unique Lenten liturgies we engage in are meant for us to “live” this experience. Maybe, at the foundation of GOD’s wisdom, is HIS knowing our “natural inclination” for self-governance and self-promotion. When we look honestly at human history we will see the pattern, and persistence, of mankind to ebb and flow into (and out of) communion with our Creator. When times are prosperous and healthy, we stray down our ‘own’ alternate path to navigate the world around us, and usually this illumines the human will and not what GOD desires. These periods are followed with a downward incline away from Heaven until LOVE restores us. Society seems to be oriented in this direction, despite its opinion to the contrary. We have truly become the “selfie” society of individual “truth”.
Earlier I said “somewhere” in referring to the trend of humanity to dismiss the beautiful activities of religion. I should have named it as the deceptive efforts of Evil, for deceiving is his primary activity in the world. I know this language makes some of us uncomfortable, but we are deceiving ourselves when we ignore the reality that the “force” of heaven longs to heal and Love us into relationship, and “another force” seeks confusion and falsehood to disrupt and distort. This “other force” has made truth subjective, as if we are the source of life. As a society, the erosion of virtue and basic Christian moral values is rapidly creating a world none of us wants. We have taken the “failings” of mankind and placed the blame on GOD and the Church and teachings (Magisterium) HE created. Maybe… our interpretation and application of these teachings are to blame.
My advice is this…don’t wait for LENT 2022 to enter the meditation of Christ’s passion. Let’s do it now and immerse ourselves into the depth of GOD’s love for us. “Lean in” to the reality of what being created in HIS image means, what it means to love GOD with all our “heart, soul, mind, and strength…and our neighbor as ourselves”. Maybe we don’t understand this deeply enough or are too selfish to try. Maybe our determination is weak. There are so many opportunities for us to be absorbed by the Spirit meant to guide us, but we have to make our hearts available. Start this journey now, and if you struggle with it, pray for perseverance and the determination to work for it. It will come and you will experience a joy and lightness you may never have felt before…or at least for a long time. This is GOD’s desire for us. We were not created to be miserable or unhappy. We were created and conceived to be a people of JOY.