Sunday, April 5, 2015

eternal as his love

Many times, I struggle to picture what exactly happens after death, which usually leads to the downward spiral of wondering if there is anything at all, or this is all just wishful thinking or who really knows what is after death or or or or... (Not very appropriate thoughts to begin a post with on the feast of the Resurrection, but there it is.)

When I listen to the above song, however, I know that all I was made for, and all I will do for all eternity is sing the soprano II part for Charles Wood's Hail, Gladdening Light. I do not want to do anything else, and I certainly would never tire of Wood's Hail, Gladdening Light. As I listen to it, I wondered sadly if I would ever sing it with a choir ever again. But I love it too much for the opportunity to sing it together to never present itself again. I will sing it over and over again, with that delightful, tireless monotony of a child that Chesterton praises.

Speaking of monotony, now that we have reached the end of Holy Week, I feel myself crying out: Again! Again! How can I wait one more year to live these few short days over again? It seems unfair to have to wait a whole 'nother year to live these days once more.

One thing that I have learned is that often we do not ever get to choose the community we are called to. We can choose our environment and the work that we wish to do, we can even choose our spouse, but often we cannot choose our co-workers, our roommates (sometimes), or our children. The people that we are surrounded by, the people who truly impact our day-to-day living, who make it what it truly is, are often out of our control to select. But we are called to celebrate Christ with them; to celebrate in these communities in which we find ourselves. Usually, we are often not called to change the communities or save the communities, but simply to find Christ in little corners where no one had thought to look for Him. This is easy to say, and hard to remember to do all the time. Often, I need something like Easter to help me to remember that Easter does not have to be at Notre Dame, the Vatican, or my beloved home parish. Wherever I go, I must learn to celebrate Easter there.

This year, finding Easter in the middle of Manhattan was a beautiful challenge. It is so easy--too easy, I have found, to get caught up in the mundane stresses of daily life. But, in Easter, we are reminded of the true greatness of the world.  This one story we are living and telling really matters. It is the only thing that matters, and through it, our lives matter. But this story: so sad, so strange, so particular, makes the world a deeper, darker, more mystical, and more hopeful place. When it is Easter, more light appears on the sidewalk. Encouraged by a renewed sense of hope and purpose, I found myself lifting my head a little higher.

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of the subways, the traffic, the jostling on the sidewalks, that these holy days, set apart to tell this story of salvation, are necessary reminders of what life is truly made of. It is not made of the rat race or the constant bustle, it is made of Our Risen Lord. Adult life is very distracting from the real things in life: Faith, Hope, and Love. It is good to be reminded, in an adult world that makes one feel so small and unimportant sometimes, like a squalid little cog in a metropolitan machine, of the grandeur of the story we are living.

At the beginning, I mentioned how hard it is not to be afraid of death: to not wonder if there really is anything at all beyond it, what it feels like, what comes after, does it hurt to be dead, etc. But, today, I am not afraid, somehow. There is something courageous today: something defiant in its mocking death: oh where now is thy sting. Something altogether more mysterious than the Crucifixion. One can imagine what the crucifixion looked like. But Christ's Resurrection is shrouded in mystery: what exactly does it mean to be Resurrected? What does it look like? What does it really mean? All we know is the fruits of the event: the word of God spread like wildfire throughout the world, the surge of love running through the world and splitting the veil between God and man, and the beautiful mystery of the Resurrection turned cowardly Apostles into fearless Evangelists

I lie in my cozy little corner of the world, tucked in my bed by the window, and feel somehow suddenly protected against the big, bad adult world out there. I listen to the familiar, beloved melody over and over again, and look out, now we have come to the sun's hour of rest, into the dark city, and behold all the lights of evening 'round me shining in the apartment windows.

Personally, I would prefer my lights of evening to be big, bright stars in liquid constellations hanging in a midnight sky. But there is something very sacred in the apartment windows of Manhattan. They are like candles lining side chapels of a cathedral. Each of them represents the lives, hopes, desires, and fervent prayers of a million little lives, lives lived inside each bright window. What better way could Manhattan hymn the father than to shine the lights of their windows as candles. Truly, thy glories, Lord, they own.

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