I haven’t added to my blog in a while. Life’s been happening, and though I love to write sometimes I can’t find enough hours in the day to get through the day and write down what I’m thinking as well.
God knows, I am thinking all the time. Too much, some would say. My family says I talk to myself–out loud. I’ve been doing that a lot lately to try to stay on top of things I must attend to. I’m finishing a doctorate program by compiling a book of past writings and photographs from an online sequence I offer called Brigid’s Circle. And I’m planning a daughter’s wedding for the summer. And I’m to be ordained by a group of evolving Catholics and Protestants next September. So, much to tend to, and those three things don’t include the meals and the exercise that comes with trying to simply stay healthy. Nor the laundry–there is always the laundry.
In the midst of the busyness, I find I must write, I must search for the words that express what’s really going on inside. I must seek to understand in the written word what I feel and what I believe.
What better time for that than the three days called the Triduum, when we recall (and some of us actually relive through ritual) the story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. It’s three-days tailor made for human reflection on our life’s journey.
I know a lot of people these days who can’t take the Easter story literally anymore. Some parts of it seem too fantastical to them–like someone rising from the dead. Or they have been so wounded by believers of the story, they avoid the story itself. I can understand their reluctance, even as I am drawn to the deeper meanings of the story myself. It’s a powerful story, so powerful it’s lasted all these years–more than two thousand. That’s a long time. In the world of literature that’s called a classic. My mother taught me to value the classics and to take time to read and understand them. And so I do.
I was a lit major (B.A. and M.A.) decades ago, taught English for a long time, edited a journal, wrote freelance for the Catholic press in the 1990s. I still love poetry and a good novel or essay, and appreciate the value of looking at a story from a more metaphorical perspective. Some wonder if all our theology isn’t metaphor anyway–our human attempts to describe something we’ve experienced of the Ultimate that is really beyond our human ability to describe. But humans use words–and other forms of symbol–to try to name that which is unnameable. And some of us can’t help ourselves–we just must do this to be who we are.
Lovers of literature and theology tend to fall in this category it seems to me. We will try to find the words even when the meanings we seek elude us. (We can be dangerous that way–beware. It’s always important to take us with a grain of salt–and trust your own reflections in the end.)
I have decided to treat these three days of Triduum as a kind of retreat time, even though I’m still tending actively to all the details of life. I will have gatherings with friends, I should clean up the house, I need to finish laying out the Brigid’s Circle sequence. I have emails to respond to. Still, I believe now is the time to treat myself, treat life, as a gift these next three days and pay attention to what I’m passionate about, to how Love seeks to be most alive in me.
For that is, I believe, the theme of the final days of Jesus–letting a deep and true and passionate Love have its way with us.
I experience Jesus of the Scriptures as a man so on fire with the Love of the one who created him that he couldn’t help but seek and listen to that love and live it, even to the point of his own demise. He was willing to go that far for the good of his friends–and his enemies. When some of those friends and enemies conspired together to destroy him, he looked at them with love and stayed true to his dream of a world where gifts would be shared generously with others, where all could live in mutual dignity–from the least to the greatest. He lived this dream by using his power to heal and feed and teach without counting the cost or putting anyone down in the process. Oh, he criticized sometimes–usually those who thought they knew it all and those who said one thing and did another. Imposters.
Even when the powers that were in the world in Jesus’ day–in the temple and in the town–saw him as a threat to their power, he continued to love. And it got him killed. It’s been getting people killed around the world as long as there has been a world–I see it lately in the news from the Middle East where people are putting their lives on the line for freedom. The same Spirit that lived in Jesus seems to me to be living in them whether they call themselves Christians or not. It’s the same Spirit of Love seeking true human freedom. Some theologians would say that’s the whole point of Jesus’ life–to show us the way to true human freedom–the freedom to love.
To me Jesus death, passion and ressurection is about loving–even when it hurts. It’s about believing that in that loving new life will emerge if we trust the Source of the Love itself, and refuse to become ourselves what we don’t like in others. We will need to forgive to find that freeom, I have discovered. And that’s hard.
We all want to find that connection to deep Love. I see it in moms and dads who every day love until it hurts–giving, giving, giving for a next generation to grow and prosper. And friends and lovers who make room for the other whose view differs from their own because of love. I see it in employers who try to keep on an employee even when it hurts their own bottom line, and employees who give a little extra to the good of the whole just because they know it’s the right thing to do. I see it in all of us who go the extra mile for someone else.
Our world need love so much. We need so much to listen to those who are different from us. I know I need help from a power greater than my personal power to do that well. I need these three days of Triduum to pay better attention to the Love I sense to be in each part of creation so that I can tap into the Love for my own good and then release it for others, rather than walk away or turn inward and brood.
Oh, God, Whoever and Whatever you are, help me these holy days to love as you loved, even when it hurts. Help me believe in the deep story lived by Jesus, that Life will out even in the midst of death.
I am grateful for a man who tried to do that fully, and all those in the story who helped him become who he became, and the people who have kept telling us the story since then. I’m just one more of those. And I forgive those who fail to live the story fully, for I am one of those too.
Blessings on all that you are about~