Put Away the Old Self
If there ever was a moment when I needed inner conversion, it is now. I had intended to write something for Easter, but it didn't come about. My mind was on too many other things. Choir practice, more choir practice for singing at the Liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. I love to sing, but sometimes it is too much, and yet ... for Our Lord in His Easter Glory, it is never too much.
There was no question the Liturgies were outstanding, probably the best singing I have heard in a long time, and I am not talking about me, but the rest of the 25 singers who were there. Maybe it's my age, as a buddy of mine used to say we're "Chronologically Challenged" (and he was only 45 when he said it!), but these long Liturgies wear one down, sitting in one spot for 2-3 hours, and worst of all, sitting in a place from where I cannot see the Sanctuary. Our parish is not one of those new megachurches where the Altar can be seen from any angle. Ours is the older design, where the Sanctuary is in a recess, and when one sits grouped in front of the St. Joseph's Altar, from certain angles it is not possible to see the Sanctuary, and more specifically, the Altar. Since I sing at every Mass on Sundays, and a good many inbetween, including funerals, I miss seeing the Altar. I miss being able to reflect on Jesus in the Tabernacle or on the Cross, it is difficult to keep my negative thoughts in check when I get riled up because I cannot find Jesus. But He is there, and at Communion time, as I am able to receive Him, He is so very present to me as I reflect on His suffering, death and resurrection and a certain knowledge that He is always with me. He is always with us, whether we realize this or not, and we should not fear or worry about where we sit in Church.
These worries and fears, that is the 'old self' - the person we were and we should end that sort of thinking. It is not productive. Similarly, the feelings of loneliness derived from not being able to see the Sanctuary, is not like Our Lord isn't there. He is always where we are because we are created by Him to constantly realize His love for us and seek more of Him. If I get to Heaven, I'll probably sit in some faraway anteroom, where I can barely make out His resplendent Face - but it will be sufficient as it is now. When you're over 70, and many friends in Church pass away before they reach 80, many after long and serious sicknesses, Heaven seems so near and often yet so far.
We are bombarded each day with negative stuff. The fare on television is the pits for the most part. Turning on the TV to listen to the News - unless there is a reportable Tornado or some other natural disaster going on, there is no News of substance, and then we are subjected to a "News show" - even the major networks put on this act of discussing the daily news before one can figure out what the news really is. And before long, I turn it off, and I am not any wiser. The half hour I spent consisted of a dozen commercials that seem to come every 5 minutes, so-called news discussions that are confusing, often irritating, and then we wonder why we're all on one pill or another. There is nothing to do, we've got to grin and bear it. And then there is EWTN, a beacon of joy and glory!
Jesus is Risen! He accomplished what he said He would, He suffered, died and was buried and rose again, to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. If you haven't gone to Holy Mass yet, do go! Catholics have this Sunday obligation, but desire to go to Holy Mass not because you must but because you go to express your love and adoration for the Risen Jesus - just Go!
In Church, but particularly all day long, do not reflect on the old self, but be a shining Beacon. You've just been with Jesus, at His Holy Mass, so keep that happy glow going for a while, long enough to let others in on the secret. We have received Jesus, He is Risen, and we shall be with Him one day soon.
To all, I wish a very Blessed Easter 2012.
God bless you!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS