I am still making my way through Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation the ‘Joy of the Gospel’. I keep being blown away by a sentence or an understanding that the Pope presents and I have to put down my reading and just process. As I have journeyed though Lent there has been one sentence in particular I have been pondering; “There are Christians whose lives seems like Lent without Easter” (EG:6). As Christians we are Easter people; the centre of our everything is that we believe that Christ rose from the dead, that death is conquered and humanity has an opportunity to be reconciled once more with God in eternal, blissful, happiness. The question is: Do I live that?
Eternal, blissful, happiness?
The psalms are full of song and dance for the glory of Him and to proclaim His goodness and greatness and yes there are times when I feel like that. But in the midst of Lent, in the midst of hardship, suffering, darkness or feelings of futility do I still live the joy Easter? As the Pope goes on to explain joy is not always separate from suffering, but the “joy of faith [is] slowly revived in a quiet yet firm trust” (EG:6) The joy comes from the unshakable knowledge that I am inexhaustibly loved by God. And form that knowledge of being loved comes a deep trust, a trust that, with certainty this lent will not go on forever but Easter will come. Spending time in Adoration helps me to remember that: in times of hardship or self-denial I just have to re-focus of Christ, on the knowledge of how much I am loved and trust that God has a plan. And I know that as I wait that I sit with Our Mother in her Holy Saturday wait too.
So that is my challenge for lent; to allow myself to be loved by God in such a way I can live the joy of Easter anew every day, with the rising of the Son.