Saturday, April 2, 2016

Connecting With Easter

I've participated in the public recitation of the Stations of the Cross various times during Lent & have always been amazed at how quickly we can rattle through the images & corresponding prayers. The same can be said for the Rosary when prayed in community. How, I wonder, is anyone supposed to grasp anything they're saying or doing when the meditations come rapid fire? They're more bullet points than meditations. I tend to come away feeling like I've missed something. Of course, the Stations & the Rosary are all about Jesus...

This year, I attended my 4th of 5 Easter Vigils (I missed one year) & I had a really difficult time connecting for some reason. I  knew the order of the Vigil, the blessing of the fire & the paschal candle, the readings, the blessing of the baptismal water, the baptisms, confirmations, etc... but all these seemed to happen rapid fire as well. When the night ended almost 4 hours later, I left feeling kind of numb... and it wasn't from all that sitting! My heart was heavy & it really bothered me that Jesus seemed so... small, so condensed into the evening's ritual. Again, I felt like I'd missed something, even though Jesus is all over the Vigil Mass from the symbolism of light, water & incense, to the reading of the Word & the breaking of bread in the Eucharist.

So what was my problem? I began to consider how I could connect better. I began to pray & received a couple things to aid me.

The first is an invitation to contemplate the wounds of Christ ... there are traditionally 5 (the wound in His side, both hands & both feet), but one can also include the crown of thorns & the wounds of the scourging. How can contemplating His wounds help? Honestly, I'm still working though that one. It isn't doing a whole lot for me at the moment, but for some reason, the line "Within Your wounds, hide me" (from the Anima Christi) keeps coming to mind. What does it really mean to be hidden in the wounds of Christ? More on that later, I suppose.

The second aid I received was to imagine one person in my life who I know loves me the most & then imagine them undergoing the same passion as Jesus... They experience the agony in the garden, the betrayal, the trial, the scourging. They endure the mocking, the crown of thorns & that horrible walk to calvary under the burden of the beam... Imagine watching this person breathe their last tortured breath, being taken down from the cross & being laid in a tomb, never to see them again. How would it feel? Days later, imagine people start saying this person is alive....Would I believe it?

This 2nd way of envisioning Jesus (as a person I'm already connected to) has proven helpful, but I'm still tempted to "bulletize"...
-Jesus
-Died
-For me

Thankfully, Easter isn't just about 1 day or 50 days, its about every moment of my life, past, present & future. And like any relationship, really learning how to connect takes time...


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