Among the day’s emails was one from a seminarian who, like most of us this Lent, even though we have begun week two in the splendour and light of the Transfiguration, seem to be more aware of shadows than of light, of uncertainty than the Father’s love, given and spoken to us through Jesus, fearful – and who is not in these days of earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, revolutions, war – not fully embracing Jesus’ word: “Get up and do not be afraid.”
In many respects that is the great challenge of Lent, the getting up – up from whatever weighs us down, whatever has us hesitant to follow Him.
Today we are invited to get up, go up if you will, to the heights of Tabor – in a few weeks we will be invited to go up with Him to the height of the Cross, for in baptism we are plunged into His death and brought up into His Holy Resurrection.
St. Isaac the Syrian urges us: “Thirst after Jesus. He will satisfy you with His love.”
When I was a boy I was given a holy card, an image of Jesus on the Cross, eyes open, gazing towards us, me.
There was one word on the card: SITIO! [I thirst!]: Jn.19:28.
Jesus thirsts for us, for our love to be sure, but for us as a person – His thirst is, if I might use the expression, the Divine, the Trinitarian yearning for us.
We are given breath of life, an immortal soul, in a word given existence by the Holy Trinity first and foremost to be beloved of God.
Sin is our separating ourselves from being beloved.
Jesus suffers and dies, redeems us so that we might ‘get up’ and re-enter the love relationship for which we have been created.
The wonderful gift of sacramental reconciliation, of Eucharist, of each new day is that again and again when we rupture the relationship through sin or hesitancy or whatever we can heed His call and strive beyond fear – by getting up again and again.
His thirst for us becomes our thirst for Him!