by Catherine Doherty.
You hear all the beautiful readings in the liturgies during the Easter Season that say that Christ is risen, the bonds of sin have been broken, and the world has been renewed. And in our nitty-gritty way, we say to ourselves: What is this? Nothing has come together. The world news is such that it seems that at every moment everything is falling apart.
So where is hope? It took me quite a while to focus on the thing that really mattered. And the answer came with the old saying, "With God, every moment is the moment of beginning again."
That’s when I tied lack of hope in with fear. That saying should allay fear; it should kill fear.
That the world is evil, or in the throes of evil, has always been true. Man is free to choose good or evil, and that is why the prophecies, the sayings of the Gospel, are not fulfilled. It’s because we say no to the Holy Spirit. But with God every moment is the moment of beginning again.
During the Easter Season we enter a new valley, truly the valley of joy, of plenty, of honey, of bread, of wine, because no matter what we have done or been, with God every moment is the moment to begin again.
St. Catherine of Siena, who is my patron saint, was praying for a man who was condemned to death and just before he was beheaded, he went back to the Church. The trip between the prison and the scaffold was his beginning again.
A man was crucified next to Christ—the Good Thief—and he rebuked the other one and said to God to please take care of him. And Christ said, "This very day you will be in my Kingdom."
Between the speech of the thief and the speech of God, everything began again and hope surged forth, immense, all-embracing.
In our search for reality, in our running away from fear, in all those emotions that we are battered with, like a flagellation situation, there is hope. Stretch out your hand and it will come to you. Whatever seems hopeless is filled with light.
You consider yourselves, maybe I too, children of production. You busy yourselves with production. But hope springs into your heart that there is something bigger than production, and that you are bigger than production, because you are of God. And it is hope that makes you see that your price is his incarnation, his life and his death and his resurrection.
Hope, like a sort of avalanche or even like a sort of fire, enters into you, and you are renewed. Hope is the sauna of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses it to cleanse us from all our emotions or whatsoever bends us down more profoundly than Christ was bent under the Cross.
We say perfect love casts out fears, but do we believe it? It’s a very good intellectual exercise to repeat it, write it on the blackboard, maybe it will get into the heart. But if we turn our face to hope and look hope in the eye, as it were, it becomes very simple, because hope holds love in the hollow of its hand.
Faith, while we live, also holds love. "Look!" faith whispers, "It’s not so tragic! Nothing is tragic in the Lord. Every moment is the moment of beginning again."
So, you have sinned. You are in the throes of guilt which throws you around like a hockey puck. Guilt has you in its claws. Look at it and say, "Out! Out! Out! Out! Out!" Out!" With God, every moment is the moment of beginning again.
Then all that guilt just shrivels, or should, and crawls out, right out of that door. If you really put hope into action, with God every moment is the moment of beginning again. That really cheers you up, doesn’t it? It cheers me up.
I’ve been trying to run this family that so many people want to call "community" (I often wonder if I run it or it runs me, I’ve never discovered that!) and I certainly had moments of saying. "This is impossible! This is hopeless!" And then I remembered the saying, "With God, every moment is the moment of beginning again," and hope came back.
Some of you have heard the story of the struggle to stay here, mine and Eddie’s. When you come here from Chicago, from New York, this really is the end of the road! In those days, buses didn’t come, trains came three times a week, and nobody came. So we struggled; we struggled mightily.
What would have happened if we had given in to hopelessness and left? There would be no Madonna House.
We have to repeat it again and again. With God every moment is the moment of beginning again.
So you see how guilt is utterly a useless sort of thing to indulge in. So you’re guilty, so I’m guilty, so we’re all guilty. But if we ask God’s forgiveness via confession or just ask his forgiveness, he forgives us.
So cheer up, truly cheer up, my dear friends. God is love and with him, every moment is the moment of beginning again, and that means every moment is the moment of joy and hope.
Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! Alleluia!
—Adapted from a talk at spiritual reading at Madonna House, April 28, 1970.
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