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Easter 2023 Musings

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

“Charity is the new life of Easter. I have seen charity, love, forgiveness, and resiliency. I have seen the new life of Easter. … This is the challenge of Easter, the challenge of the resurrection. It invites us to new life, charity, and resiliency.” Ronald Rolheiser

One of the most profound experiences I have had during this past couple of years of COVID and all the darkness that seems to have accompanied it with wars, suffering, anger, hunger and death is a new discovery that in looking and in seeing, in opening my eyes and my heart, there is energy, there is an essence, there is aliveness in everything around me. In a very real way, as I approach Easter this year, having walked a road of trials, suffering, and many little crucifixions along with so many others around me and in the world of today, I feel that in some new way I am, we are, already living the resurrection experience. And we come to Easter knowing what Ronald Rolheiser meant in his quotation: the challenge of the resurrection invites us to new life, charity and resilience.

I am reminded of the psalm “O Lord … you have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever”. I have often felt when praying this psalm an experience of falling until I hit bottom and discover the bottom is like the hollow of God’s hand, where I am held there in Love to rest awhile before I get up and start walking again!

When we face issues like abandonment, betrayal and death, within ourselves and in the world in which we live, we become vulnerable, but open. We can see light and resurrection above all the pain and suffering. Indeed we are held in the hollow of God’s hand in love, the world is held in the hollow of God’s hand in love. God’s got the whole world held there!

The new life of Easter, God’s love transforming all powers of death and darkness into the powers of life and light, for all time, and for eternity. It is for everyone, everyone. We can never celebrate Easter in isolation from the cries of our world. But when our hearts and minds are open to the wounds of our world today, we begin to see, in so many new ways, the meaning of the first Easter – a transforming and loving God who has entered completely into the human condition and invited us to partner in that transformation: to commit ourselves to the Maker’s business in the world.

I share a meditation poem written by Peter Millar:

With the beckoning and dawning of another day,
Can the fragile, yet extraordinary words of Jesus
Propel us to a wider awareness, a gentler compassion?
To the rediscovery of the sacredness in ourselves, and in our world?
To that risk-taking place where the imprisoning bonds
Of our self-enclosed lives are finally shattered?
To a different journey in a listening companionship
With the prophets of our time –
The wounded and weary who announce the Kingdom
And carry in their stories the seeds of the morrow?
The ‘hidden one’ in our global culture whose pain and joy
When threaded through their lives enlarge the heart
And bring new meaning to our common future:
That ‘sacred future’ where impossible as it may seem,
We ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’.

It is we, incredibly, who are to be the new victory sign. When people look us, can they see the new life of the Risen Christ? Can they exclaim “look at these people, they love each other”. The raising to new life of our humanness is most often expressed and affirmed in small things: in quiet, undemonstrative kindness, in tentative reaching out across many kinds of barriers, in resistance against all kinds of dehumanization, in persistence against the odds, in continuing to create out of destruction, in the imagination of joy and wonder, and in triumphs, however small, of justice.

“We can respond with a paschal imagination, we can look at the pattern of death and resurrection in Christ and then move on positively and critically too shape our destiny by naming our deaths, claiming our resurrections, letting the old ascend, and living in the spirit that God is actually giving to us.” Ronald Rolheiser

Easter! New life from the Life Jesus gave, who goes before us to show and to share what love can do! For us this Easter may we know that our God is making all things new. New beginnings like this are times to remember and move on, a time to believe what love is bringing, that love is laying to rest the pain, the disappointments, the guilt, and the grieving and offering new paths and a world of difference as faith and hope are born again.