All the Easter joy and resurrection stories….
The Time of Easter has just begun, and we see or hear everywhere, ‘well, now that Easter is over, we can get onto the next thing’.
In our secularized cultures, which have been selling chocolate Easter eggs throughout the 40-day period of Lent, some people actually appeared amazed when I wish them a ‘Blessed Easter’.
Amidst my own personal grief, many losses:
Sudden, tragic, as well as from long illness….
Many dear ones facing operations, cancer or other therapies,
seriously ill, near and afar…..
I feel some sense of the disappointment of those on the road to Emmaus.
My heart is definitely still burning, as I encounter the Living One regularly in many places and situations. Yet, a sense of a heavy sadness is there also, as I feel the pain, suffering, disappointment and discouragement of so many around me.
‘Great to know that since Jesus rose from the death; our loved ones will rise again too….’
‘Wonderful that we will be united together again in the communion of saints and someday in Heaven…’
BUT WE WANT THEM HEALTHY AND HERE WITH US NOW!
Our loved ones never should have suffered nor died as they did.
With Jesus we, too, scream out: “God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Where is God for us in this?!
Now that our National Memorial Days of WWII 3-4-5 May are approaching, I find the many inspiring concentration camp victims able to address us here.
In his book Night (1960) relays Elie Wiesel this moment:
“Where is God now, papa?” asked a young son of his rabbi father, when they came around a corner and saw the little boys classmates hanging,.. dead.
“Where is God, my son?…God is hanging there, next to your friends..”replied the rabbi.
That God is with us in our despair, our suffering, our death.
This too, is what Jesus exemplified in his own life and suffering: that God is not aloof, untouched by our pain, off somewhere high in the sky, ruling the universe….
God is with us–as God said also to Moses, ‘I am with you’, and ‘I will be with you’.
When death looms over us and threatens to overtake life,….
When, knowing that love is stronger than death, we still grieve and suffer great loss, and despair is just around the corner, it is perhaps good to recite what Titus Brandsma said when confronted himself with death and despair:
“Do not yield to hatred*. We are here in a dark tunnel, but we have to go on. At the end, an eternal light is shining for us.” (*here, despair)
and then he added something for which we S/BFCC also strive:
“I see God in the work of his hands and the marks of his love in every visible thing, and it sometimes happens that I am seized by a supreme joy which is above all other joys.”
Is it not that ‘being able to see God in every visible thing’ which encouraged Jesus amidst his own suffering and death?
Is not hope embodied in every living person, animal, plant? Is this type of ‘seeing’ not the deeper layer of the ‘eternal shining light’ to which Titus referred?
Is not holding onto hope, seeking always the ‘eternal shining light’ in the eyes of another, in a given moment, in the situation at hand, even amidst suffering and death, a part of the resurrection?
Is that, a new perception, not new life?
Praying that my and our eyes and spirits—especially in times of suffering, death and discouragement, may be open to see more deeply, so that our ‘hearts may continue burning on the road’ with excitement at how God reveals ‘life’ in broken bread, brokenness…..
Teresa A. Takken, SFCC