These Sacred Mysteries

Can any one person ever fully know, or fully explain–

Mantegna’s “Lamentation of Christ,” c. 1480

How Jesus gives Himself to us, in every possible sense–totally, physically, mystically, through time and space, in life and in death?

How He chose, and continues to choose, imperfect men to carry out God’s perfect plan in the name and in remembrance of His perfect love?

How Jesus, though being God, did not deem equality with God something to be grasped (Philippians 2:6), but rather taught His apostles and future generations to come to do as He did–humbling Himself, washing others’ feet, serving rather than demanding service?

How a man so powerful–healing, preaching, performing miracles–could suffer so much, bear such a heavy cross for the sins of a people so weak, so stubborn, so underserving?

How sin and evil was conquered by a cross so gruesome and bloody, at the same time, how something so violent and grotesque, when beheld with loving eyes of faith, can be so beautiful?

How He gave much, suffered much, lowered Himself so much, because He loved much?

How the words, actions and story of a man who lived more than two thousand years ago becomes our story, our faith, our hope?

How He died and rose again, and continues to live in our hearts?

How? Why? What for?

For Love. For you, for me.

Much has been said about these mysteries of faith, especially during these holiest of days. Every year, if I can, I seek to attend a Triduum retreat that will teach me more about these mysteries, which they are not because they are problems or riddles with an elusive answer, but because no matter how much we say, or read, or hear, or reflect about these truths, we will never be able to grasp the totality or the richness of their beauty. This story, our story, is so unfathomably vast and deep precisely because it was fashioned by an equally tremendous and unending God. We can never run out of angles to look at, views to gaze upon, and yet there is not a glimpse that does not touch our hearts, that does not move us with its beauty.

So rich, so unending the facets of these mysteries, that it takes the Church 3 days to celebrate it (not to mention the 40 days spent preparing for it), with Liturgies that so wonderfully reflect the emotions of the journey from Supper, to Calvary, to Death then to Life. Thus we walk with Christ: we serve with Him, we pray with Him, we suffer with Him, we die with Him, and we rise with Him. For all other times of the year that we’ve begged for Him to stay with us–through financial difficulties, through broken relationships, through loss, through pain and grief–now, through suffering and death, resurrection and new life, we stay with Him–and allow His life, for an infinite number of times, to teach us again and again, year after year.

But when Christ is revealed–and He is your life–you, too, will be revealed with Him in glory. –Colossians 3:4

Until He comes again, when we will see that He has always been bigger, more beautiful than we could ever have imagined.

Look upon Your Church, O God,
with unfailing love and favor,
so that, renewed by the paschal mysteries,
She may come to the glory of the resurrection.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Happy Easter to all!

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