In our recent post, ‘What Good Can Come From This?’, I reflected on Jesus’ desire to invite us into the desert with Him, Lent has served as the perfect reminder that during this time that God is always present in our suffering. But now the season has changed, Christ is risen, Alleluia! This could be a very confusing time because in some ways we are still suffering, we are still sacrificing. Yet, we are doing so in a season of new life. This springtime is breath-taking. As I am writing this, I have the pleasure of looking out my window at clear blue skies, trees that stretch for miles and the sunlight shining on God’s wonderful creation. All I hear from the world outside is birdsong and silence. No traffic, no noise, just birdsong and silence. This season is a perfect mirror of the time of the resurrection. It is a time of new life, of redemption, the verse that comes to mind is, ‘And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”’ (Rev. 21:5) The season we are in seems like such a paradox considering what is happening in the world right now, but if Christ is telling us anything it is that He truly is with us at all times, both in trials and joys, “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of age.” (Matt. 28:20)
If ever we required new life, it is now! During this time, we can see that Christ is drawing us deeper into the mystery of His steadfast love. I’ve heard it said that ‘you become the company you keep’, and this is the case when we spend time with Christ, we become more like Him when we spend time contemplating His perfect love. How can we become more like Him during this time of lockdown? This might seem intimidating, but we should not be afraid to look inwardly and see where we can become more like our Saviour. If anything, this is the perfect time because many of us will be facing this challenge at home, some of us are at home with our whole family and after three weeks you might be finding this exhausting, but when we look at Christs’ steadfast love we have the opportunity to rise to the challenge and learn how to love better. Here are some reminders of His love that we can reflect on that might help us rise to this challenge:
You were made to be loved – remember, in order to love anyone, we must first love ourselves. This is especially important right now! Self-love is something that we Catholics often overlook, but if I desire to ever love another, I must first love myself and let God love me. Self-love is not vanity! Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the truth of who God created us to be, beloved sons and daughters of the Most-High King. Prayer is always important, but it is especially right now. When I say ‘prayer’, I simply mean making myself present to God and allowing myself to abide in His perfect love. Christ calls His Bride, ‘Beloved’. You were made to be loved by Him. If you want to become more like Christ, then become His company. Make time for Him and make it a priority. Agape love first flows from Christ in our lives before anyone else. We cannot pour out this beautiful love that we are called to partake in if we do not allow Christ to pour it out on us first. Christ even showed us how to do this in His relationship with the Father. Every time Christ prayed; He truly gave Himself to the Father in submission to His will and was never afraid to pour His heart out to the Father. What then poured out from His prayer into His life was a perfect acceptance of His identity as the only begotten Son of God.
He is faithful – Christ has truly shown His love to be steadfast in this season, He has made Himself known to us in times of trial and triumphant joy. Nothing in this world could stop the resurrection. Something that I noticed in society before all this happened was a fear of commitment. Maybe this is something you struggle with. People often assume ‘commitment crisis’ refers to just human relationships. But it can be anything, a common one among Catholics is perpetually coasting along with different prayer groups, hopping from one to the next continually. The problem with this is it leaves us closed to the fruits that come with being part of a community. When you make a total gift of yourself in love, you receive fruit in abundance. I know that being a part of Pure in Heart, I’ve had the opportunity to worship, learn and grow in friendship with my community. And now, even in isolation, I get to lean into the support of my community. Faithfulness requires sacrifice, but it brings new life. Sometimes it’s our relationship with God that we coast along with. If Christ showed us anything in His life, it is that He was consistent. Jesus showed us perseverance on the Cross. He proclaimed His love for us before His death and turned our eyes towards the sacrifice that He was going to make. He then was true to His word and did what he said he would do. He then went a step further to prove that He is always with us in His resurrection. He gave all of Himself, and He continues to give all of Himself. I know that these times can be rather disheartening for us, but I sincerely encourage you to be intentional in your relationships, with God and with others. This requires perseverance and a willingness to endure times of trial. Christs’ resurrected presence in our current time of trial shows us that it can be done with triumphant joy and victory! All we need do is rely on His love. I encourage you to reflect on the areas of your life in which you might be afraid to commit to or be intentional with, that you should pursue and persevere with during this time. If we learn to persevere now, we will walk out of this season as stronger Christians than we were when we entered it!
He is victorious! – As I said earlier, the season of faith we are in seems like such a paradox compared to the season our world is in. Yet to celebrate the joy of the resurrection in this season is exactly the hope we need, for in the resurrection Christ has shown us that He, in His death, conquered death. It would be so easy to succumb to the sound of death all around us at the moment, but again Christ gives not as the world gives. Where the world presents death, He says that “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). A beautiful example a friend of mine shared with me is this: a couple in our village has just had a baby after experiencing two miscarriages. They have shared with others the overwhelming love that they have for their new-born child which they feel has multiplied because of the great losses they experienced prior to this child’s birth; this has been such a source of joy for several people! Their abilities and desire to love has grown in perseverance in times of trial and great loss. Their long-awaited gift of life has finally been given to them and they can pour out so much love on their new-born baby. Just as these parents want to pour out abundant love on their child, Christ so desires to pour out His love on you. And He wants you to have the childlike freedom to rejoice in His love. If you let Him enter your heart, He also has the power to destroy your fears. He has paid the price it cost to love you and have a relationship with you, be confident and trust in the fact that He is victorious in the resurrection.