risen

When I see that cross, I see freedom
When I see that grave, I’ll see Jesus
And from death to life, I will sing Your praise
In the wonder of Your grace

{hillsong worship}

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It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to see the risen Christ on the third day. Our Gospel reading from Matthew 28 gives us some insight into how Mary and Mary Magdalene responded, “Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Mt. 28: 9-10)

Just a few days before, Mary was weeping covered in her Son’s blood as she held his lifeless body, and here she is clinging to him once again, except this time in awe and joy of his resurrection.

Venerable Fray Luis de Granada reflects on this moment saying, “She has Him [Jesus], and does not let Him go, embraces Him and asks Him not to leave; before, she was struck dumb by sorrow, not knowing what to say; now struck dumb by joy, she cannot speak.”

Mary’s experience of the risen Christ offers us much to consider of our own experience on Easter. Are we embracing the risen Christ as if to never let go? 

Her desire to see Jesus gives us a longing to aspire toward. Through the window of Mary’s soul, we see how the resurrection calls us forth.

When I see the cross, I am overwhelmed by the thought of my sin being the force that pierced his hands and feet. Furthermore, I am left speechless by the magnitude of grace poured over every moment of weakness and shortcoming in my life. Grace upon grace upon grace. Every moment I fail to choose love is completely redeemed by the wounds of our risen Lord. This really is amazing grace.

And to think that this same extent of grace is washed over every human heart leaves me speechless.

Mary’s heart for Jesus reminds me to be struck dumb by joy. It’s in the quiet awe that Jesus meets me along the way this Easter Sunday. I feel the trumpets bursting forth in my heart as my arms reach for the feet of our risen Lord.

I pray that your heart is overwhelmed and your hope is restored.

He is risen – for you.

Let Him meet you along the way.

embrace

We’ve come to the fifth and final step of Fr. Dan Lackie’s reflection on discernment. Here are his five steps of discernment:

  1. Pray every day
  2. It’s okay to look foolish
  3. Don’t let failure hold you back
  4. Examine the script of your life
  5. Return God’s loving embrace

Fr. Lackie begins his reflection on this fifth and final step with Pedro Arrupe, SJ’s words:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.”

I’ll never forget the moment I said it back.

I grew up singing “Jesus loves me this I know…” and “Jesus loves the little children…” along with countless lyrical classics proclaiming how God loves us. I never doubted the fact that God is love, it was a truth that my parents ingrained in me from the moment I took my first breath.

When I was seventeen I went on a retreat that changed my life. For the first time, I felt Christ’s tangible love in every fiber of my being. I felt as if I was walking on clouds and despite the warnings about losing the “retreat high” I was confident that my life would never be the same, and it wasn’t. I felt totally accepted, embraced and loved – messy hair, tear stains, and all. It set me free unlike ever before, and the experience lit a spark in my soul that would leave me longing for more.

I’ll also never forget my freshman year of college when I heard the song, “How He Loves,” for the first time. Christ’s love was a torrential downpour over me that reached every hidden crevice of my heart.

Receiving God’s love is a lifelong journey, and every healthy relationship is a two way street. The implication of this in our relationship with God is an invitation to both give and receive his love.  

Do we listen as much as we speak? Do we extend the same patience, respect, and compassion to God as we would our dearest friend?

How do we love him? 

About three years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life staring some life altering decisions straight in the face. Decisions that would change my life, impact my loved ones, and ultimately challenge me more than I could have ever anticipated. It was frightening, exciting, and paralyzing all at once. I was longing to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, but also terrified of disappointing the people whose love and acceptance I valued most.

What the Lord ultimately revealed to me is that his love comes first. His love is the only love that matters. He not only spoke these words to my heart, but he invited me to write them over every detail of my life.

He asked me, “Will you love me, first?”

With a rush of emotion and deep aches in my heart I wondered if I had ever told him, “I love you, too.”

All my life I felt this love in my heart, but now it came time to act. The Lord wanted to know, “Do you love me?” He longed for my fidelity. He had given me unconditional love over every moment of my life, and he longed for my love in return, as any lover would.

It was in returning God’s embrace that my heart was free to walk fearlessly in the way of His love. I learned that we must always let His love forge our path, no matter how terrifying it seems.

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There’s something about reaching for Love and returning his embrace that brings peace to your soul even in the most uncertain circumstances.

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

your script

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The fourth step of Fr. Lackie’s discernment process is to examine the script of your life.

More often than not, I find myself wishing for the script of my life. If only I had directions on where to stand, what to say, and how to think and respond. There’s a sense of security in knowing that someone would have already figured life out for me.

The truth is that each of us already have a script from which we live. Based on the choices we have made, the people we surround ourselves with, and our ways of thinking, we have formed a script of our life that we follow.

To help us examine our script, Fr. Lackie encourages us to reflect on the ancient Greek aphorism, “Know thyself.”

Dare to ask these questions: Who am I? Who are you, God?

The answers to these questions paint a picture of the script of our life. With the awareness of who we are and who we perceive God to be, we can honestly identify when we have gone off script within ourselves, with God, or perhaps both. We are also given the opportunity to extend ourselves forgiveness.

God’s script is merciful love.

In God’s mercy, he invites you into an ongoing reflection of who you are in His image. He wants you to keep asking, “Who am I?” and “Who are you?”

St. Francis often prayed these words before falling asleep:

How have I learned to live? How have I learned to make decisions, form relationships, and make commitments? Who modeled these things for me? Are those models still working?

When you have the courage to examine how your daily habits relate to God, yourself and others you will grow in intimacy with the script of your life. And when you go here, you will find the fingerprints of God over every letter, direction, and cue.

Here you will find beauty, love, forgiveness, and purpose. This script belongs to you.

Look closely at the gaps, misspellings, or unexpected turns. Herein lies intention, restlessness, and healing. More so than the flawless curvature of our lives, these places reveal the depths of who we are.

Holiness asks, “Who am I becoming?”