They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they
entered,they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. ~Luke 24:2
I am still very much growing, in my faith, and particularly in my Catholic faith. I imagine I always will be. Or I hope that will be the case, anyway. For every Liturgical Season that I live through, I find a little more seeps in. I grasp a familiar Scripture a little more than before, as the clarity of the story is as real as a movie playing in my mind….I am there, I see, I smell, I feel. I forget where I physically am. And then the message of it all, speaks to me on a personal level, in regards to my own life, it’s current circumstances, and my own self. The moment of Consecration; when the bread and wine transforms into the living Body of Christ, and Cup of Life, makes my heart leap with excitement, and my spirit crave approaching His table once again, and becoming one with Jesus. With every passing season, I find I am falling deeper, and deeper, in love with my Catholic faith.
But there is no denying, that the connection and attention I earnestly pay to my faith, ebbs and flows from day to day, week to week, and month to month. It depends on how much is going on in my life, what is going on in my life, what kind of focus I have had lately anyway, and what Liturgical Season we are in. How much I have so weakly let myself become distracted with earthly matters and struggles, which are only temporary, as we all know.
So it most always starts out with Lent, as is did this year. Not every year – but some, and maybe most. Certainly this year. Ash Wednesday approaches, and I think, “Really? Already? When is Easter? It’s only 40 days away?”
So naturally we attend this Holy Day of Obligation, Ash Wednesday, and our Lenten journey begins. By then I have reviewed with the children once again, in our morning Scripture study/prayer time together, about this period in our faith and life that comes every year, and how important it is to prepare ourselves for the coming events. And I have also made my Lenten choices to live by, in hopes of ultimately growing yet a little closer still, to Christ, by the time Easter arrives.
But as I do all of this, at the start of Lent (certain years), it’s admittedly all too much like mere obligations. Motions I go through, as it is just time to do these things. I am shamefully aware of how emotionally or passionately disconnected I am, from this annual journey I am embarking on once again. As the days pass, I stay true to my Lenten choices, and try to take the time to reflect on how they should be helping me grow. But I fleetingly question it, brushing away the weight of guilt I feel inside. I know I am not paying enough attention, and I am struggling with truly giving the attention and time needed, to invest my heart as it should be.
The more Easter draws closer, the more I fear; I am really going to blow it, this year. I’m down on myself about it, yet I don’t do enough, to really change it, really. Maybe because I am afraid it won’t help anyway. Or maybe because I am, again…..too weak and distracted to switch gears as I know I should. Whatever the reason, I acknowledge I am lacking inspiration, for THE-most-important-season of my Catholic faith. Instead of seeking the inspiration, putting the time in, giving it a chance to all come together, I carry on as I have been. With a piece of me inside, quietly puzzled, confused,…..maybe lost?
Then comes Holy Week, and everything changes. It’s as if my Father loves me too much, to let me, let myself down.
The call gets louder, and my spirit and heart respond more readily. The Holy Spirit invades me with a vengeance, with no denial of it’s presence within me, and gets my attention once and for all. I find myself alive. Intrigued. Eager. PRESENT. In heart and mind. Not much else matters to me through the next Triduum of days, as we attend Mass daily. Not much else, can keep my attention. I’m all but mesmerized by the events of these days in Jesus’ life on earth, that played out exactly according to the Scripture. Emotions are at their surface, for me during this time. My mind is focused, and my heart is full of so much,….ever changing. Holy Thursday; Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, the betrayal to come, the agony in the garden, as he sweat drops of blood. His knowing what lied before Him. All that would happen to Him. His acceptance of it as the command of His Father, and His love for us. Good Friday; the deep sadness inside, the thoughts of helplessness I knew His mother must have felt, like others who loved Him and believed he was in fact, the Son of God. The visions of Him being tortured, scourged & spit upon. The heavy cross. The pain and thirst. And mercy. His death. It’s a day of much silence and prayer for us all, as a family. And as I (we) fast, I am filled with such nourishment and satisfaction. I treasure that day with my family, in so many ways. Then Good Friday evolves into Holy Saturday, as we continue to grieve and feel so sacrificed for, with the ultimate price. His life. We find ourselves so thankful and encouraged, that we will celebrate His Resurrection soon, as He said He would, and have good reason to sing ALLELUIA!
Easter is most always a memorable occasion, that we as a family have always enjoyed. But this Easter in particular was the best, most beautiful, most perfect Easter, ever – for me. I was truly rejoicing in my heart the entire day, relishing in the amazement of what Jesus Christ did for me, for you, and for you, and for us all! Realizing, in yet another layer of understanding and truth, just what that means for us all. And cherishing my family, as we celebrated together, knowing how very blessed we are to have each other, and the people in our lives. Loving, how we continue to grow in our Catholic faith, as a family. Happy, that our efforts to keep Christ as the center of the 6 of us as a family unit, no matter what, has been rewarding and given us strength when we have most needed it. In times when others have let us down, time and again, or turned away. He is there. He is always there, always understanding, always forgiving, and with love that does not and will not ever end.
We have all we will ever need.
We have each other.
More importantly, we have Him.
He, who gives us nourishment, strength, and hope.
And has given us the GIFT, of ever-lasting life.
Hoping you had such a blessed & beautiful Easter as well.
(A small collection of photos of the kids, from Easter Day, to come. )