HE ROSE AGAIN - REFLECTION
I have the furthest thing from a green thumb. I actually think I have a black thumb. It's a decently sad situation, but we all can't be good at everything, I suppose. A friend of mine, however, has an incredible natural ability for tending to plants and getting them to a place where they are simply thriving. A green thumb, indeed.
There was this one plant that was given to him as a gift. It was actually a stalk of some sort. It hadn't sprouted yet. But he was faithful to watering that plant. To bringing it in and out of the sunlight as needed. To feeling the soil and seeing what it needed. And after over a year, still no sprout.
Then...all of the sudden...one day it sprouted the most beautiful flowers. Stunning pink pedals with a bright, yellow center. I was sincerely amazed. He showed up every day, he was faithful to that process, and it eventually bore fruit. Simply amazing.
As I sat at Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper, there were many things going through my head and in my heart, but the prevailing theme was this: "Lord, I don't know how to enter into your Passion, and honestly, in three days' time, I really don't know how to enter into your Resurrection, either." I can attend services, I can read through our Lord's passion and Resurrection slowly and intentionally, I can sing the sacred hymns, but how do I really enter in?
Believe me when I tell you, it is all too easy for me to eat one too many Reese's seasonal peanut butter chocolate eggs, get a sugar high (and a little stomach ache), go to Mass, hang with my family, and call it a day. But is that what it looks like to enter into Easter? Well, those things are certainly part of celebrating Easter, but what is at the heart of Easter? At the heart of Easter is the fact that Love has conquered death. That Jesus won. That He paved a way for us to enter into the greatest gift: new life with Him. And that life starts now. It starts today.
Still...if you're anything like me, it can be difficult to live in that victory. During Easter, I sometimes feel in the same place as I was on Ash Wednesday. But that couldn't be further from the truth. I am not the same. Because one of two things has happened: God has used Lent as a time of transformation for my life, or now at the end of the Lenten season, I understand even deeper my inability to change my own life and my deep dependency on Him. Those are both beautiful scenarios.
We, at The Vigil Project, have been praying for weeks now with Psalm 51, "Restore in me the joy of your salvation." What I've come to realize more and more as we break open that scripture is my complete and total inability to restore my own joy. I want to, but I can't. Just like I don't have the ability to enter fully into this season of Easter without God's grace, just like my friend could not make that plant sprout on his watch. But, we can show up every day. We can "water" that work that God has started in us, through prayer, almsgiving, works of mercy, the Sacraments. We can be faithful, and that great work will bear fruit in God's ever-perfect timing.
The word "Easter" at its root, is affiliated with the breaking of the dawn. With Spring. With new life. Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, and shows us that he does, indeed, make all things new. Restoration is a process. And my dear friends, God can never be outdone in generosity. Love always wins.
So at the beginning of this Easter season, I invite you to reflect: What new work has God started in you? And what can you do to "water" it?
Written by Andrea