A young man leaves the courtroom excited because his electronic monitoring device will finally be removed from his ankle, allowing him to leave his home. It is as though he has earned wings.
Within a week, we receive the phone call: “Br. Jim, I got into some trouble. I got court tomorrow. I need you.”
The lessons we learn during periods of discipline sometimes vanish faster than an ice-cube on a hot sidewalk the moment those periods end. Promises of renewed behavior and discipline slip back to suspensions, arrests, and probation violations when the period of punishment is over.
This is not a criminal dilemma, but a human one. I noticed the same behavior as we were liberated from our Lenten practices with the resurrection this Easter. How quickly we forget our own reflections of these past forty days. Let us remember this past week and lessons we need to take going forward as we live out our Christian call in this world.
The various texts of the Triduum are the crux of Christian spirituality. The Vigil itself contains the entire story of our salvation, beginning with the creation story, moving through Exodus all the way through to the resurrection of Christ. Without the story of the last supper, Jesus’ death, and resurrection, the rest of Scripture would not hold as much weight. The history of our church is told throughout both testaments, but the deeper identification of God is revealed most poignantly through the giving of God’s son for the sake of humanity. Without that understanding of God, the definition of God becomes much smaller. This gift bears a great responsibility for Christians. The texts of the foot washing, persecution, Stations of the Cross, and resurrection are the summation of the challenges for Christian living. How are we to live and love? The important points that are made throughout the entire Bible are summed up in these texts of the Triduum: Serve the least, be at peace, allow God to fulfill God’s plans through you, and model your lives after Christ who has gone before you in all things.
In our faith journeys, we ask some basic questions: Who is God and who are we? Who and what do we love? How should we pray? What life choices and behaviors should we make? The Triduum texts point to the answers.
Who is God and who are we? God is an intimate companion and we are God’s beloved children. God demands of us only what God knows we are capable of being, and is willing through God’s son to teach us how to live. Who and what do we love? We love one another at all costs. We do not love only the suffering, but also those who persecute, for violence will only end when the violent are loved alongside the victims of that violence. How should we pray? We should pray authentically as Jesus taught us in the garden, knowing our own fears and needs, but also knowing the ultimate will of God in our lives. We must confront our hesitations before we can ever surrender. What life choices and behaviors should we make? These behaviors should stem from our previous answers, and should integrate Jesus as a parable and model for our own lives. Christian spirituality is nourished and formed from the center of the Triduum out towards the world. We have been transformed through our Lenten journeys. It is now time to act.
Easter is not just the end of Lent. It is the beginning of the Reign of God in our lives, if we but let ourselves remember the lessons of our transformative forty days. Just as our young friends do, it will be tempting to go back to our old ways and forget the lessons we learned. However, we all experienced a miracle that continues to change our world when we let it. May we let others know that Christ is risen by allowing our lives to be changed by the Christian call to live as Jesus has shown us.
~~Megan Sherrier, BSL
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