Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Celebrating Christ's Resurrection
Sunday night, Jesuits from Adelaide joined us here at Sevenhill for a wonderful feast (a break day from retreat!). Here, Arthur Leger and I are with Minh Uoc Pham, a Jesuit originally from Vietnam and now working in Manila. The three of us lived in Cambridge, MA during our theology studies and I haven't seen Minh Uoc since then.
This picture is from the Easter Vigil, the night before. (I am trying not to make a face as I spill hot wax all over my hand.)
On Easter morning, several of us got up to see the sunrise. Pictured here: Bruno (Switzerland), Ian (the Director here at Sevenhill) and me.
Sunrise... a wonderful natural reminder of the renewal of life at Easter.
A friend sent this meditation on our own process of becoming human through our relationship with the Divine. It is taken from Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. I thought it was a beautiful and deep reflection on the desire the Risen Christ has to "Easter" in our hearts, like Spring becoming manifest in and through the nature around us.
"Why do you not think of him as the coming one imminent from all eternity, the future one, the final fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into times that are in the process of becoming, and living your life like a painful and beautiful day in the history of a great gestation? For do you not see how everything that happens keeps on being a beginning, and could it not be His beginning, since beginning is in itself always so beautiful? If he is the most perfect must not the lesser be BEFORE him, so that he can choose himself out of the fullness and overflow?---Must he not be the last, in order to encompass everything within himself, and what meaning would we have if he, whom we long for, had already been?
As the bees bring in the honey, so do we fetch the sweetest out of everything and build Him. With the trivial even, with the insignificant (if only it is done out of love), we make a start, with work and with resting after it, with a silence or with a little solitary joy, with everything we do alone, without supporters and participants, we begin Him whom we shall not live to know, even as our forbears could not live to know us. And yet they, who are long home, are in us; as predisposition, as burden upon our destiny, as blood that pulsates, and as gesture that rises up out of the depths of time.
Is there anything that can take from you the hope of this someday being in him, the farthest, the ultimate?
Celebrate [Easter] in this devout feeling, that perhaps He needs this very fear of life from you in order to begin; these very days of your transition are perhaps the time when everything in you is working at him, as you have already once, in childhood, breathlessly worked at him. Be patient and without resentment, and think that the least we can do is to make his becoming not more difficult for him than the earth makes it for the spring when it wants to come. And be glad and confident."
Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet