It isn’t uncommon to have an intense experience in our lives, only to discover that the ardor and enthusiasm quickly dissipates into mundane routine. For instance, take birthday fiestas, weddings, family reunions, graduations and other social celebrations. Once the intensity of the moment concludes, it doesn’t take long to transition to the next thing.
The same holds true for the rhythm of spiritual and faith life. The liturgical calendar assists movement from one season to the next. We ready ourselves spiritually from ordinary time to religious feasts and celebrations with ease and comfort. We know how to prepare for each spiritual occasion well: externally, we know what colors and symbols go with each celebration and we cultivate the appropriate attitudes and sentiments.
While these external and internal rhythms of our faith life seem rather cyclical and, at times, rather mechanical or superficial, they have the power to capture our deepest imagination, and invite us to deeper reflection and transformation. We know that these religious celebrations are sacramental moments that encourage us to pay closer attention to our deepest desires, especially our desire and hunger for God.
In faith, we know that these celebrations point to our desire and call to be a holy people, committed to the mission each one of us has received in the Spirit. “That mission has its fullest meaning in Christ, and can only be understood through Him. At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of His life. It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord’s death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew in Him” (‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ 20).
The challenge — and opportunity — for us is to keep sight of the expanding grace these mysteries of faith offer, and not ignore and dismiss them as irrelevant rituals and insignificant piety. Perhaps the biggest challenge will always be to take time out to find quiet time and solitude for reflection, in order to come closer to our union with the Risen Lord.
So, as we continue our ordinary cyclical cadence of life, and as we ready ourselves to open our minds and heart to the feast of Pentecost that soon follows the resurrection event, might we pause and delight a bit more in the power of the resurrection we have just experienced? Can we take a sustained moment to allow the event of the resurrection to sink in a little deeper into our consciousness?
The empty tomb to which we are witnesses, the resurrection appearances that are unfolding before us, the resurrection meals that are taking place in our liturgical prayer, the encounters with the Risen Lord on the road and our intimate touching of Jesus’ wounds in His radiant body all beckon us to slow down and not rush to the next event. Indeed, the power of the resurrection is ours to hold close and delight in without reserve. I suspect that our respective time with the Risen Lord won’t disappoint.
Already, we intuit and affirm in faith that the grace of the Resurrection will elevate our human conviction, boldness and freedom. With our Risen Lord, our convictions of faith will stand a bit stronger; with the Risen Lord, our bold proclamations of what God has done for us will sound a little louder; and with the Risen Lord, our freedom will be more open to the divine surprises taking us beyond our human control and limitation. Today, yesterday and tomorrow we can say, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad—Alleluia!” (Psalm 118).
Orozco is executive director of interreligious and intercultural affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.