We are now basking in the afterglow of Easter. We have struggled through Lent and have arrived at the reward. When I read about the early disciples, I wonder how they did survive it all and understand any of it. I’ve been through numerous Lents yet at times, it is as though each one is new and the miracle of Easter is a welcome and refreshing end. We know the “rest of the story” yet the difficulty in reaching it sometimes amazes me. Perhaps I’m just a slow study. Oh, I eagerly embrace the wonder of this glorious time yet it is mind-boggling that I still have to work so hard at all that is expected of me – shouldn’t I have figured this out by now??
In this economic climate of struggle, we hear St. Peter’s words and are reminded of what the important things are in life. Our healing from our ills regardless of how they present themselves is far superior to all the routine treasures of the world. Finding peace and joy trumps everything else, always! While St. Peter performs a miracle in curing the crippled man, the greatest miracle is the outcome of faith in our lives. Living a faith-filled life and all that it entails rewards us in ways too numerous to count. I received an e-mail not long ago that showed a man carrying a cross (amid many others also carrying crosses). The man stopped and pleaded to God to “lighten” his cross and so he was able to cut some of it down. This continued a few times and soon his cross was small in length. However, when the time came to use the cross as a means over a great abyss, his cross was too short while others easily laid their crosses over the divide and passed to the other side. Our faith that we can carry the burdens put upon us is, indeed, our saving grace. We will make it to the other side if we continue to believe and pray.
While I’ve heard the gospel many times in my life, it struck me in a different way this time. No doubt because of some readings and discussions I’ve been blessed to be involved in lately. The part that I “heard” the clearest this time was that related to the burning feeling inside. It reinforced to me the notion of the divine within us all. As Father Dick Hauser recently pointed out at a discussion, God is not separate from us but there within us in the form of Grace waiting for us to grow aware of it. I see it as a discovery of the authentic self – all that we are meant to be. Believe me, I need to be the first to admit I do not always act or think as though there is anything divine as a part of me. However, when I open myself through prayer and love, I can feel the “burn.” I can allow that authentic self to emerge, to be the one that interacts with family and friends, colleagues and strangers. As our gospel speaks of the disciples walking with a physical being that was, indeed, Christ, let us each day remember that we, too, walk with Him. Let us be aware of it to the depth of our souls and feel the Grace that is so generously bestowed upon us. Only then can our actions be congruent with the authenticity of our being.
Let us rejoice as Easter people filled with hope and blessed with Grace . . . let every word, thought, and deed reflect our authentic self and embrace that in others. Alleluia!
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