By Kathy Keary
Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.
The Paschal Mystery stands at the heart of the season of Lent and the heart of Christianity. The Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus is centered in the theme of dying and rising. This same phenomenon occurs in nature. The abundance of summer is followed by the leaves on the trees dying and falling to the ground in autumn. Then all life seems to be dead in the cold, winter months. But lo and behold, the vibrancy of spring breaks through with warmer temperatures and beautiful flowers and foliage enhancing the landscape.
Dying and rising is a part of our lives as well. When my daughter and I lost our home in a fire, it was right before Ash Wednesday. Our pastor preached a common theme throughout that Lent. He suggested that uniting our cross with the Cross of Christ would lead to the resurrection. I gave it a try. I embraced the cross by allowing myself to feel the pain of my experience and uniting my cross with the cross of Christ. Ten months later our brand-new beautiful home stood as a sign of the resurrection. But the rising was more profound than a material symbol. The fire sparked my fervent desire to grow in my relationship with God. This desire has not waned. The new life that sprung forth following the fire continues to this day. God remains the center of my life and our relationship continues to flourish.
This same theme played out in my journey with cancer. A dire situation turned to the new life offered by remission. During that time, my hope was centered in the Paschal Mystery. I was convinced that I was on a path that would lead to new life – perhaps in this world or perhaps in the next life.
I invite you to reflect this week on your own dying and risings.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he asserts that Christ made room in his affliction for us to participate. The Cross was complete on its own, but Jesus opened the door for us to take part in the hope offered by the Paschal Mystery.
The people of Ukraine are enduring the cross right now with the atrocities they are experiencing at the hands of Putin. It’s a heart-wrenching cross that the whole world is suffering through. Words fall short in describing the emotions that surface as we watch the horror caused by this great evil. I invite you to express yourself through art as a way to embrace this cross and pray for the people of Ukraine.
First, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your creation. Then pour out your feelings through art whether you consider yourself an artist or not. When you are finished, be sure to take a moment of silence to rest in the loving embrace of God.
Join us next week when we will continue our embrace of the Cross as we journey through Lent.
May you feel God’s loving presence with you today and always.
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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
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