Monday, April 13, 2015

Christ is Risen, But What About Me?

How often does it happen that during Easter time we feel uneasy or troubled because we don't have the tangible joy we think we should?

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead and we all sing, "Alleluia!" and eat lamb and sweets. Then we eat leftovers. We sing "Alleluia" all week.

And now here we are, still plodding along.

I know that I'm not in ecstasy. I'm not marvelously changed, or at least I don't appear to be. I still have the same faults, the same incoherence, and the same sufferings. Some people may even face new or greater afflictions in this time of joy and celebration.

Is there any connection between the liturgical season of Easter and our "all too ordinary" lives with our daily troubles and stumbling and even catastrophies? Does it make any difference?

We hope that we have been moved closer to God in these weeks and months of prayer and penance, solemn commemoration and reaffirmation of faith, and perhaps we have felt this or seen it in some concrete ways. However, we may also feel "stuck" in circumstances that haven't turned out the way we expected them. We may think, "Christ is risen, but I'm still suffering!"

Maybe my life and sufferings are different from yours, but deep down we are all on the same road. We are all sinners, and we fall and try to get up over and over. We can also have periods in life when it's just like groping in the darkness or collapsing from exhaustion.

And we may ask ourselves, "Where is God, like really, as a source of help?"

Don't get discouraged during this time, even if it happens to be Easter time. Jesus in His wisdom and mercy is drawing us to Himself even when our lives seem like an empty tomb and we still don't feel like we know where He is.

When it seems to me that God is nowhere in my life, the only thing I can do is cry out for Him. And trust in Him. And it seems not to make anything feel better or solve anything. I just have to do it again and again, in so many aspects of my own life.

But He does answer, and He works in His time and His way. Sometimes I can see this, but other times it may take years to recognize the first hints of the mysterious work that He accomplishes, and a full understanding can only be found in eternal life. He always gives enough for that next small step on the path, however small and weak it may seem. He gives enough for each little step.

"Ah, but sometimes it all just seems unbearable!"

That's because it is unbearable.

Only Jesus can carry this kind of pain, this pain that is the journey of a human life into the depths of the Mystery of God. My pain, my life: only He knows it all the way through.

The only hope is to abandon everything to Him. "Jesus, I give myself to you. Take care of everything." Again and again, whatever, and wherever, and how, and why... "Jesus I abandon everything to you."

And Mary is always there. She is there to carry us all the way to Him.

I pray in this Easter season that all of you, my dear friends, will be held by the infinite gentleness and mercy of God. I pray that He will pour out His healing grace into all the places where it is needed.

I don't want to sound like I am ignoring the hard realities of life by kicking up a cloud of "religious talk." I really mean that there is nowhere else to go, nowhere else to bring these burdens, this life, this cry of the heart.

Jesus on the Cross. Jesus risen from the dead. This is the hope that changes and transforms life, that saves us. Where else can any of us go? We have to go to Him, and give it to Him.