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Monday, March 28, 2016

Five Years A Catholic

Though the official day was April 23, liturgically, it's 5 years since returning home to Holy Mother Church. It seems I have lived lifetimes in these five years. There's an awful lot in that sentence, but I lack the words to share it with you. I never regretted the time before I came home, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have. Even so, my life is a testimony to the Scripture which says, "And from his fullness we have received grace upon grace." I thought today as I left Mass, "I have never been as happy as I am today." It's Easter, but otherwise, it's a normal day. On the other hand, perhaps the power of God's love is the fact that it reveals the silliness of a sentence that begins, "It's Easter, but..." There are no "buts." Jesus rose from the dead; death is swallowed up in victory!

Some separated brothers were attempting to say that this Sunday is no more victorious than any other, when we celebrate the Lord's resurrection. True, in one sense, and completely preposterous in another. If I fail to celebrate some aspect of Jesus' life and death, it does not by my failure make those realities cease to exist. The loss is only mine. You might say that we cannot rob God of His intrinsic glory. On the other hand, the loss is truly mine, in that His extrinsic glory made manifest is my salvation. The fact that God has no need of our praise does not mean that we should not offer it. Suppose we embrace the reality that praising God is the fullness of our existence; we need only to realize that to act for our own benefit in this way takes nothing from God. Many of us are not accustomed to thinking in this way. If I may, we should start. I have never seen anything so silly as a Christian trying to restrain his own joy for the sake of his theology. St. Paul warned us about special months, and seasons, and years, not because they were wrong, but because the people had become officious and cold, maybe even exclusionary. The Church gives them right back to us, as a means of participating in the sufferings of Christ (and now, in the glory).

I had not realized how heavy the cross was this Lent, until it was lifted. Sometimes, the sufferings are present, and quite immediate, and sometimes the proof of their reality is a harvest of joy. I certainly imagined that I could die happy right here, as Mother Angelica did Sunday. Thankfulness. Thankfulness is what I am able to articulate now. How could it be that you love us this much, O Lord? There's another ridiculous sentence. Very well; let my absurdity in asking overflow in joy and salvation, for me, and anyone else.

I couldn't help but think of the Cross family: Bryan, Carol, Joshua, Olivia, and Laura. In ways seen and unseen, the joy that I have now is their joy first given to me. But not only them, and indeed, too many people to name. What do I have that I have not received? Let our sins be forgotten in the abyss of God's mercy, but let our charity, our love, endure to the end of the ages.

If indeed we do not forget who we are, the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us, and to us. The life of faith is the beginning of actually living in the reality of that truth. May we all meditate with joy upon it, as we wait in hope for Christ's return. Happy Easter, beloved friends.

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