The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Love and Obey. My wise husband has always said we can sum up all of scripture in those two words. He would remind me of this when we were in RCIA and were waiting for the time when we could be in full communion with the Church and thus receive Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. When we were received into the Catholic Church at Easter 1996, I distinctly remember the longing I felt for eight long months as we waited to receive our first communion at the Easter Vigil. This longing for the physical Presence of Jesus is something the whole Catholic world is now intensely aware of, as access to the Sacraments has been taken away from us.
We are an Easter people, and the normal way we participate in the life of the Church is through the Sacraments. Through the Sacraments, God reaches out and touches us really and personally with sanctifying grace, which changes our souls and makes us more like our Savior Jesus Christ. When we are deprived of sanctifying grace, we not only feel empty, lonely, and bereft but are also more prone to give into temptation from the enemy. Our souls become parched without the Sacraments.
And so here we are – a parched people longing for the physical Presence of our Lord. Our hearts cry out for the love of God that is poured into us through the Sacraments. Is this not exactly how the disciples must have felt on Holy Saturday and in the days following Jesus’ death as the word of His Resurrection was beginning to spread through the Christian network, but not everyone knew the amazing news? How must Mary have felt on the day after her son’s horrible torture and death, after watching him suffer and die the worst possible death on the Cross – empty, bereft, grief-stricken.
And yet, Mary, so full of grace, must have known that her loving God would make something new out of something awful. So she waited with love and with longing, but with hope. Mary knew that her God could make all things new. One of my favorite scenes in The Passion of the Christ is when Mary meets Jesus after He falls, and he says to her, “See Mother, I make all things new.” Jesus makes all things new through his suffering, death, and resurrection. Even when we have to wait, we can remain strong in the knowledge that He will make all things new. This must be our posture as we wait for the return of our Sacramental lives. We wait with love and with longing for the return of Our Eucharistic Lord. And He will return to us, in God’s time.
So how do we celebrate this Easter, when we normally receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, but are not able to receive Him? We celebrate by opening our hearts fully in prayer, by lifting our broken hearts to Our Lord and begging Him to forgive us for the many abuses of the liturgy and of the Eucharist. We tell Him how much we love Him in prayer and by showing up to pray daily, and we are loved by Him in prayer. We live the love received by pouring that love out into the world, which right now means loving the people closest to us and also by giving to those in need when we can.
While we are without the Sacraments, the primary place we can draw close to Jesus is our interior lives – prayer. We have time right now – busyness is no longer an excuse. So while we still have time left in this pandemic shutdown, make daily prayer a priority. It will change your life. If you haven’t been praying daily, make time in the morning to pray. If you already pray daily, lengthen your prayer time, or add a devotional prayer time later in the day. (Basic daily prayer is taught in previous blog posts and in the book Into the Deep by Dan Burke).
We have a Universal Call to Holiness, and that call to become Saints is for all of us, not just a few! Our Resurrected Lord, the second person of the Majestic Trinity, is reaching out to each of us every moment of every day to draw us close to His Father in the Love of the Holy Spirit. The call to Holiness is the call to Union with God. But we are closed off from Him. We are distracted by the world and its fleshly delights, and also its burdens and worries. But no matter what, Jesus’ love never stops, never fails, never leaves us, but we look away from the One Person who can save us. Who by His suffering, death, and resurrection, redeems us and saves us from ourselves and sin.
So while we have this time apart, this strange time of isolation, instead of focusing on what we don’t have and what we can’t do, let’s instead grow in friendship and relationship with Jesus. No excuses. Just do it. Pray daily. It will change your life! Our Resurrected Lord, outside of time and space, is waiting for you to run to Him. His arms are wide open, and His Sacred Heart is longing for union with you. No excuses, pray daily, run to Jesus. Let His love pour into you and overflow into the world. He is waiting.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (24)Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. (25)“I have told you this while I am with you. (26)The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. (27)Peace* I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
*Photo: Fra Angelico Resurrection