Published by guest blogger Kathy Brents
The nearer Christ comes to a heart, the more it becomes conscious of its guilt; it will either ask for His mercy and find peace, or else it will turn against him because it is not yet ready to give up its sinfulness.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen
I read this quote a few months ago and it has really stuck with me. Making (or accepting) fundamental changes to our lives or who we are inside is often only accomplished after exercises in humility or futility, painful reflection, etc. Even though I understand that pain, suffering, and misery are a necessary part of life, I also believe that it is not God's intention for us to live in those states. I think that God intends joy for us (not only because of his love for us, but because that glorifies Him) and that he does give us the means to attain joy. But sometimes the means are too difficult or too painful or too frightening and so we just stay in our misery. I have learned that somewhat the hard way. Or out of a misplaced sense of duty. That right there added a number of years to my marriage, which only ended up doing a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual damage to myself, and even worse, to others. And how did that glorify God? I haven't figured that one out yet, but I am pretty sure at some point it stopped doing that. The problem is that even with all this great insight (or hindsight) I now have, I still mess up, do the wrong thing, for the wrong reasons, etc. I feel like I can just not get it right sometimes. Hopefully, the misery (including the self-inflicted) I have gone through will take some time off the 10,000 years I'll probably have to do in Purgatory.
But you know, for a few weeks during Lent, we had a guest priest substituting in for Mass. Fr. B. kept saying over and over and over again that Easter is about baptism. He obviously felt this was a critically important thing for us to understand and remember, likely because God feels it is a critically important thing for us to understand and remember since he kept sending Fr. B. back to us over and over and over again with the same message. He told us he says "Happy Easter" all year long because of the importance of this joyful message. Ok. So if Easter is about baptism, then it is about rebirth, renewal...resurrection. I still haven't put it all together yet, but as we are coming closer to the end of our Easter season, I am thinking that this year it is maybe meant to be just a big ol' obvious sign to keep on keeping on and to not get mired up in the same old despair. You know, encouragement...hope. Another chance, a new life...everything is going to be ok. And ultimately, at some point, I know it will be.
That’s my take on it anyway.