This hasn’t been the greatest Lent. That’s an understatement, actually. In all honesty, I feel like an epic failure. I set the bar low, and I still couldn’t meet any of my spiritual goals.
Yet in spite of me and my failings, Easter will come. In the face of my sins and my foibles, there will be hope. New Life in Him is not dependent on my performance. Thank God for that.
Dying on the cross, Jesus thirsted for souls. He went to all this trouble and endured great suffering. Yet, there are so many, myself included many times, who don’t really appreciate his sacrifice. We continue to crucify Him with our own sins – no matter how small. How awful that must feel not only to God, but to His Mother, too. She stood at the foot of the cross and watched her only son suffer and die. She accepted everything with trust and grace. And here I am, unable to even make some pitifully small sacrifices in honor of Him.
Oh, Mary, it would be a lot easier to hate those who hurt Him, wouldn’t it? I bet it would even feel good – at least for a fleeting, pleasurable moment – to hate all of us who betray your Son with our actions (or our lack of action – say, being too tired to pray to Him).
Instead, Mary and Jesus chose to forgive again and again and to look beyond our weaknesses and our repeat offenses and to love.
I haven’t been very good at loving anyone but myself lately.
But I refuse to be a Judas. I refuse to give up, to cave in to despair. I cling to hope, hope in a God whose mercy is endless and who loves me even when I don’t deserve it. Like Peter after he betrayed Christ, I long to look into Jesus’ eyes, into Love itself, even though it might be easier to look away.
Easter is coming. I keep reminding myself of that. It doesn’t feel like I deserve an Easter after such a pathetic Lent.
I have some loved ones who not only deserve the joy of Easter but who will be living it on Sunday.
My cousin has been fighting leukemia for 3 1/2 years, but on Easter day he stops taking his oral chemo. Isn’t that beautiful? A priest will be offering a personal Mass in their home to celebrate this new beginning for him. Entering the phase known as “survivorship” on Easter Sunday takes the whole idea of “new life” to a new level, doesn’t it?
This Easter will be the first day of the rest of his cancer-free life. Deo gratias. He was 15 when he was diagnosed. He’s spent most of his teen years fighting cancer. Whereas my Lent has been too short, his has been far too long.
My aunt understands, more than I, what it means to stand at the foot of the cross. She understands what it means to be faithful in everything and every circumstance. Come Easter, she’ll embrace the new life in Him, in her own son, just as she has taken up the way of the cross for so long now.
This Easter is for my cousin. It’s for his mom, his dad, his entire family.
It’s for my dad who recently said he feels a lot like Mary sometimes having to helplessly watch his wife suffer with grace and endurance and to standby and witness his mom – who lives with my parents – have to face the realities of old age. He can help. He can pray. He can trust. But he can’t take my mom or our nana’s crosses completely away.
This Easter is most definitely for my sweet mama who despite failed surgeries and medical treatments clings to hope and gives thanks for a beautiful life.
Easter is for you, too. It’s for me. It’s for those who believe and those who don’t. It’s for those who suffer as well as those who seem to glide through life with nary a care in the world.
It’s for us all.
Imagine that. You don’t have to. It’s the Truth.
We are all God’s beloved children, and we are all capable of being raised in glory.
Today there is darkness. There’s sadness. There is pain. There are lowly bodies that fail us. There are broken hearts and spirits.
In this world, there is suffering, disease, disaster, hate, indifference, neglect.
In my life, I get it right some of the time. Sometimes I don’t.
He is there through it all.
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
God says the word with the cross. Each nail driven in deeper and deeper drives His love into us.
And on Easter, whether we’ve kept all of our Lenten promises or not, whether we’ve suffered from cancer or another sickness, whether we’ve had to watch a loved one endure pain, whether we’ve held grudges, whatever our past, on Easter morning our souls shall be healed.
Our future is in Him. How can we not be full of hope and new life?