With Eyes Open

Easter Peace to All!  May your lives truly be BACKLIT WITH JOY!

Most of us don’t have problems recognizing our friends, unless we haven’t seen them in a long time or they’ve changed a lot due to age or health.  But shortly after the first Easter, as two people fled the scene of all that had happened, we’re told “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” But they were prevented  from recognizing him.

They had just witnessed all that had happened, so why did they not know him? Were they so distracted and disillusioned? Well, yes, probably.  We, too, often don”t realize Jesus is walking with us.  When wrapped up in the way we think things should be, or when discouragement, fear or grief take our hearts hostage, it’s easy to have eyes closed to the ones nearest to us.

The Emmaus travelers poured out their pain to Jesus, the stranger.  Something made them trust him.  And when it was evening, they begged him to remain with them.  We know the rest.  “While he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Jesus, friend and companion, help us recognize you each day as you bless and break open the bread of our lives and yours.

The Passion Continues

It’s 49 years ago today that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. He remains in our memories as a young man, filled with passion for justice and dreams of reconciliation and harmony among all people. He would be 88 years old this year. 

As we move toward Holy Week to commemorate the sacred Passion of Jesus, the words of Martin Luther King are as challenging as ever:  “We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. . . Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel. . . With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.

Listen to the Holy Spirit

Last week I had the joyful opportunity to spend several days in Dallas with the Ursuline Academy community. Sr. Elisa and I visit each year and speak to the Sophomore theology classes about discernment and the great gift St. Angela is to the world. She was a woman who learned how to listen “above all” to the Holy Spirit speaking in her heart. We encourage the young women to call on St. Angela for help in the important decisions facing them now and throughout their lives.

We also were invited to attend one of the many monthly Angela Merici Advisories that are offered for faculty, staff and administrators. Our group consisted of about 7 people who gather before class begins to pray and share on words of St. Angela and how they speak to our experience today. It was wonderful to feel the energy and dedication of those in the group. I’d like to give a big shout out to Sr. Lois Castillon, O.S.U. and also to the sophomore theology teachers for their joy and commitment to spreading the Gospel at Ursuline Academy and beyond. You never cease to inspire us!

We Need a Little Springtime

In my part of the world, the spring equinox took place yesterday at exactly 5:29 a.m. It excites me to think of the new growth, emerging beauty, and resurgence of life that it brings. I want to stand in the sun and let it warm me from the outside in.

Springtime is a season of earth that mirrors the spiritual transformation of Lent. The Scriptures speak of those whose hearts have been “turned away from the Lord” and are like “barren bushes in the wasteland that enjoy no change of season.” Imagine what it would be to have no rhythm of seasons, to never have spring!  

With effort, we can move out of spiritual barrenness. Whatever seems dead in us—might it be enthusiasm, kindness, hope?—-if tended and pruned, will begin to blossom again. As we move through these weeks of Lent, it’s very helpful to consciously choose practices that open us to conversion.  Jesus invites us to this springtime of the soul which we all need.