Saturday, April 10, 2021

Christina Grimmie: God is Still Here

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I first posted this graphic meme four years ago (on April 10, 2017) in my monthly series remembering this amazing young musician, singer, songwriter, and ardent soul: Christina Victoria Grimmie. 

Her life of love "lived-to-the-end" continues to shine, to be a witness full of hope for me and many people around the world. She made no secret of the meaning and purpose of everything in her life, and the One in whom she placed her trust.💚

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Resurrection Calls Us to Newness of Life

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.

The miracle we celebrate in these days of Easter is the new foundation of human history, revealing the mystery of the Father's plan from the beginning: to put all things under the headship of Christ His Son (see Ephesians 1:10). Every facet of human experience, human interaction, and human life has been transformed and given a new meaning by the Person who has transformed our humanity by making it His own, by dwelling with us, by living with us a truly human life "in all things but sin." 

Jesus never sinned, but that didn't mean He was "missing out" on something in His humanity. We sin because we are missing something that God intended for us to have. God never wanted us to sin. He made us free for the sake of love. And although He permitted humans to reject His wisdom, His grace and gifts, and allowed sin to wound the foundations of human freedom and human solidarity, it was only so that He could turn our failures into a more profound revelation and outpouring of His love, by healing us and restoring what was lost in a more wondrous and beautiful way. As Saint Augustine said (and as the Church sings in the Easter Vigil liturgy): "Felix culpa ... O happy fault ... that gained so great a redeemer!"

Sin itself, as we know only too well, adds nothing to the enrichment of our humanity; it reduces, divests, and destroys us, and in itself it is "no-thing" at all - rather it is our shrinking and withdrawal from the full measure of being, from truth, goodness, beauty, and the reality of life.

Jesus who is the Life accompanies us into the depth of the impoverishment that is the consequence of sin and death. Indeed, He "goes before us," bearing our sorrows all the way to the end out of love - as the gift of the Father's love - so as to open a new way for reconciliation with God, a new and inexhaustible life that overcomes all the violence we inflict upon ourselves and one another.

The Risen Lord invites us to a renewed and transformed life. He seeks us who are lost. He dies for us (and "with us") so that He can find us and save us. He wants us to rise with Him, to be free from the tombs in which we have imprisoned ourselves.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday 2021

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia, alleluia! 

⭐️Happy Easter Sunday to everyone!⭐️ Happy Easter Week, and Happy Easter Season (which continues until Pentecost)!

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In his first Twitter message for this season of rejoicing, Pope Francis gave out an important reminder about how the Resurrection of Jesus reveals God's to begin a new life even now, today, in our hearts if we open them up to His grace and mercy:



Saturday, April 3, 2021

Two Years Since Dad Went Home to God

On this day, as we waited for the silent Jesus in the tomb, wrapped in his shroud, we also marked the second anniversary of my father's death. It was a pretty Spring afternoon at the cemetery where Dad's body is buried. Three generations of Janaros came together there to visit his grave (including his great-granddaughter now nearly six months in her mother's womb).

Death remains real and mysterious. We are "separated" from people we love when they die. There is real suffering in this separation, even if - radically speaking - it's only "temporary." I don't think we should be surprised if we find it hard to "get over" the loss, or "put it behind us." 

Maybe we can't completely overcome grief. Maybe we're not meant to. 

Perhaps a portion of this sorrow is instead something we learn to endure, to bear for the remainder of our own lives: a sorrow which - in this world of space and time, bounderies and limits - corresponds to the love that goes beyond those limits in its need and in its giving.

A Catholic cemetery is designed to be peaceful for the living as well as the dead. Its quiet natural beauty and the crosses and memorials of its stones are conducive to reverence and recollection, to the solitude that reminds us of our greater destiny, and that evokes faith, hope, charity, and prayer for our loved ones who have gone before us.

Tomorrow we celebrate with joy our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our hope to rise with Him. Our hearts look forward in that hope toward the promise of a New Creation, praying that the God-who-is-Love will draw all of us to Himself, transform us as His sons and daughters, and bring us all together forever, with every tear wiped away.

Friday, April 2, 2021

"It Is Finished"

"It is finished" (John 19:30). 

[Painting from the series "Crucifix" by William Congdon (1915-1998).]


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And this appears to be a fragment of an idea for a poem (or perhaps it's sufficient for a whole poem) that I found in my journal from Holy Week of 1991:




Thursday, April 1, 2021

Holy Thursday of Half-a-Lifetime Ago (1991)

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Holy Week and the Easter Triduum came at the end of March, thirty years ago. I have been revisiting a journal I kept with some regularity from 1990-1992. Back then I was expecting that I would eventually become someone important, and that "posterity" would therefore be interested in my "thoughts."

Thus, some affectation always got in the way of my writing. It still does. But - then and now - it's mixed in with some genuine observations.

I was writing on Holy Thursday, 1991. I was using the only "portable word processor" we had back then: a pen. I had much better handwriting in those days. I may have even been a better writer. I certainly had some choice words for "sophisticated cynics" and their "enlightened boredom." I have since had to wrestle in many ways with my own temptations to be cynical.

Therefore, I now have a bit more empathy for the "sophisticated cynics" than I did thirty years ago. Life is hard. Often people just get burned out, and they're just looking for a little "peace of mind." It's a good thing that the astonishing "foolishness of God" includes His patience with us: the way He "reaches down" to accompany us on obscure pathways.

Easter came on March 31 that year (five days earlier than this year). At this time in 1991, my father was about to turn 56 years old, i.e., he was younger than I am now. I still find that hard to imagine. I feel like my Dad was born "older" than I am now. Today, I believe he looks lovingly upon us as we prepare to mark two years since his death.

There is much to ponder as Easter 2021 approaches. The "foolishness of God" remains wiser than all our wisdom.

Anyway, here's "the kid." I'll let him speak for himself. God has been patient with him, and so I must also be patient.