by Catherine Doherty.
This Holy Week and Easter Week, I meditated much on the Cross and on the Resurrection. And I was struck at the power of the liturgy to bring the two together.
From the very beginning of Lent, the liturgy of the Church leads us to Good Friday—her day of mourning, her day of loss.
Yet even during the Triduum of Holy Week, even on Good Friday itself, anyone attuned to the liturgy–the Church’s school of love and knowledge–can sense that behind the darkness of Good Friday, already the light of Easter is shining.
Likewise, anyone can sense that during the tremendous joy that fills the Church and her liturgy during Easter and Easter Week, the shadow of the Cross is not far away.
It came to me then, that this is the answer to our everyday, ordinary, Christian life. This inter–weaving of light and darkness, of joy and sorrow, of pain and absence of pain, is a pattern that the Church, through her liturgy, brings before the eyes of her children to prepare them for the reality of their earthly lives.
It teaches us beautifully and powerfully that the lot of the human race is this symphony of alternating pain and sorrow, joy and gladness.
Better than any psychiatrist, it points to the immense realities of life—never allowing us to wander into a dream world that would take us far away from the Cross and the Resurrection into a world of our own making, full of idols, fashioned by our own hands, and oh, so dangerous to the welfare of our souls.
Through her liturgy, the Church points to the fact that the Cross and the empty Tomb are inseparable. In this way, she teaches us all about hope. She says, in effect, that when things seem all wrong, practically hopeless, that this is the time when hope should be its strongest.
Each of us must have our Good Friday. But we must also remember that Good Friday is only the beginning of the story of Love—that Good Friday leads to Easter morning and eventually to the final Easter morning—to the homecoming, to the Beatific Vision.
At the same time, the Church through her liturgy teaches us that when we experience great moments of joy and gladness–which, of course, God in his mercy gives us, his beloved children, from time to time—we must not expect that they will last all our lives.
For like the newly baptized catechumens of early Christian times, we can wear our white robe of joy and gladness for just so long, and, then, life takes over again and we must appear in our everyday garments, shouldering our Cross once more.
For it is through the Cross that we shall know Christ. Through it, we will really become his followers. Through it, we will achieve the real goal of our lives—sanctity.
The Cross and the Resurrection are tremendous images given to us by the Church to teach us the way to the Father.
I thanked God for this meditation. It explained so much. It helped so much.
—Adapted from Restoration, June 1962
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