“We are a Resurrection people, and Alleluia is our song” –Pope Benedict XVI.
A lot of my prayer lately has consisted of me wrestling with and trying to figure out the seemingly duplicitous nature of Christian life—the fact that when you live with Christ, there is always both joy and sorrow, suffering and blessing, death and new life (working on the blog for that one…stay tuned). For the last few days though, as is fitting for the season, I’ve been praying/thinking/reflecting about the Resurrection—it just keeps coming up all over the place. Father Roland made a good point last Sunday at Mass: the Church celebrates Easter for 50 days, which is 10 days longer than Lent (you can always judge pretty well how significant something is by the number of days the Church sets aside for it. So even if you knew nothing about Easter, you’d know that it must be REALLY important just by the amount of time devoted to celebrating it). We, as Catholics, are a “Resurrection People,” but I don’t think I’ve ever really lived like I believe that. And so I’ve been praying this week about what it means to live, so that my life is a proclamation of the Resurrection.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
“This is eternal life, that [we] should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).
What does it mean to live?
In trying to answer that, I’m finding a lot more freedom in coming to the realization that I am not the sum total of the holy hours, prayers of intention, outreach projects, Liturgy of the Hours, ministry opportunities, invitations, appointments and Rule of Life that make up the parts of my day—that is part of the structure of my time, and many of those things are set in place to provide a chance in which to encounter the Lord. But ultimately, like John’s Gospel says, this thing we call life is all about knowing and having relationship with “the only true God”: JESUS CHRIST. It is only through that knowledge of Him, that relationship with Him, that everything else takes on significance.
That’s what it means to live—I mean, to really LIVE. My life is not about keeping track of tasks; I am not called to fulfill a long list of should’s. I can schedule all the holy hours I want into my day, but if I’m not having an encounter with the living Christ, if I’m not deepening my relationship with Him, if everything in my life is not rooted in Him, then what is the point? No; I am called to (and promised) LIFE—a glorious life of Resurrection, a life of fullness and joy that flows out of my love for Jesus.
I am created in the image and likeness of the Living God.
I am daughter and bride of the King.
I am Christ’s own portion.
I am beloved by the One who created all things beautiful.
I am filled with the Author and Animator of life.
I am a lover of Love.
I am a follower of The Truth.
So…what does that mean?
It means that I cry and I laugh, sometimes at the same time, and I feel both joy and sorrow deeply. It means that even though I don’t understand the whys or wherefores, I follow where God is leading me. It means that I get a little uncomfortable (even if I might hate it) because I believe that He who is sending me is worth it. It means I take risks because I am driven by an intense and overwhelming love for One who is greater than I am. It means that I am made for greatness, that I am favored, that there is a power in me (not of my own making) that makes evil nervous. It means, oftentimes, that I have to fight for that which is true and good and beautiful. It means that I am called to more.
“For us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist” (1 Cor 8:6).
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:29).
Praying today that I have the grace to live my “Amen.”