Saturday, May 01, 2010

Pass it On!

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Friends of Madonna House

Pass It On #66

The Heaviness of Feast Days

by a Madonna House Staff Worker

For some reason, I have been thinking a great deal lately about the sense of disappointment or heaviness that often seems to cloud religious feast days, days that should be full of light and joy. Do you ever feel this?

I think one reason for this is that the power of evil tries to compete with a celebration which centers around the worship of God. Another reason has something to do with what we call “Christ living out his life in us,” and that is basically a good thing, though what we feel is seemingly to the contrary.

Recently it came to me as I prayed and read the Scriptures that our souls bear the imprint of Christ’s life, every experience of his life. This happens at Baptism. He didn’t give us only a part of himself at Baptism; he gave us his entire self, and that includes all the experiences of his life, of his great mind and heart.

I think that as we go on in life the full meaning and reality of our Baptism unfolds. We know something about Christ—not only with our intellects, as we read, study and think about him—but our whole being has been united with his whole being in Baptism, and his being is like a surge of new life running through our very arteries.

Through our Baptism we see the Child whom the Virgin Mother of God has brought forth; we know, by our own intimate relationship, who this Child is. Or, to put it another way: Christ in our souls recognizes himself, and we experience at times the leap for joy that Elizabeth felt in her womb at the moment when Mary’s voice of greeting reached her ears (Luke 1: 30-44).

Or, in a moment of utter stillness, perhaps we become aware of the intense heat of the fire of the love existing between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and we become so caught up in it that we cry out to God, “Don’t show me any more! It is not for man to know!” We are then like the Apostles on Mount Tabor and we are struck with awe at the brilliance of Christ in his Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).

And when we see our brother being crucified in the many ways man crucifies his brothers, isn’t there something excruciatingly painful that takes place in us? Isn’t it Christ suffering in us, being crucified again at the hands of his enemies?

And when, by the grace of God, we are able to forgive right on the spot some wrong that has been done to us, isn’t it Christ himself forgiving, repeating again from his cross, “Father forgive them”?

And the heaviness of feast days? Surely it is the groaning of the Spirit of Jesus in us, the travail in which all of creation is yearning for completion. Perhaps on these days we become acutely aware of being in unfulfilled time, even as we celebrate the fullness of time in Christ. Perhaps this heaviness is a grace also, because we experience the longing of Christ for all of creation to become one in his Father. Yes, I think this is what the heaviness of feast days is all about!

— Adapted from Coming Home

Recommended Reading

Listen to the Spirit—He Will Lead You

2010 Calendar Journal featuring the writings of Catherine Doherty

Begin your day with a quote from Scripture and deepen your relationship with God as you grow in your awareness of His presence in your life. An indispensable aid to your prayer life. And a superb gift to others! The calendar includes the saints and feasts for each day of the liturgical year as well as a listing of the day’s Mass readings and a short scriptural passage from them for your personal reflection. Click here for more information.

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