On Death and Resurrection

This year, I experienced Lent in a profoundly different way than I have in the past. The experiences of the past year have changed my perspective.

I see Mary’s journey with her son, her profound pain, in a new way. In thinking of IMG_0553Mary’s walk with her son toward Calgary, I think of my aunt and uncle who had to bury their son and my cousins who had to bury their brother this past year. I hold their grief in my heart as I walk the Way of the Cross.

I see the path of transformation that first requires the process of death and grieving. In my own journey, I’ve had to embrace grief on my path to transformation. I left people I loved in Indianapolis to seek transformation through living as a Sister of Providence. Both what I left behind and that which is new are challenges of adjustment. Even still, I have begun to see the transformation – the resurrection – that they are bringing, a transformation that I hope and trust will bring me more fully into myself and help me to serve with a greater fullness of my being.

In the past six months, I’ve started the work of therapy with a psychologist. I IMG_0546embrace bringing forth the pain of working through my issues because I trust that it’s necessary to bring about growth and greater health. The hope that it will heal me doesn’t make the process easier or less painful, but it pushes me through.

As I sit here writing this after having prayed “The Way of the Cross for Justice” with many members of my community, I think of the pain in our world, so much of which is unnecessary. The injustices and violence we see every day are so great. Just yesterday, our own country admitted to mistakenly killing 18 of our allies in Syria and then dropped the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat on Afghanistan. I think of the lives ended by our massive military might and the choice to use it. I think of the lives ended or forever altered here at home by the use of violence to solve problems. I think of the challenges that hold people back from developing their full potential: poverty, hunger, discrimination, lack of funding for the arts, and so on. While there will always be some pain, there is much that could be avoided if we had the collective will to care for each other and to create the social conditions ripe for human flourishing.

And even in this pain, that which can be avoided, that which is unavoidable, and all of which cries out for healing, Jesus walks with us. The way to healing is through the pain and grief. Jesus walked through the pain of human suffering, the suffering of interpersonal and structural violence, the suffering of human nature. By this we are redeemed. By our own ability to walk through our own pain, too, we find redemption.

And so this Easter Triduum, I hold in compassion all those who suffer. I hold in compassion my aunt, uncle, and cousins, whose family is profoundly different this IMG_0547year, whose pain I can only hope that my prayers lighten a little. I hold myself in compassion, knowing that I am growing, not expecting perfection, recognizing the hard work of growth and healing. I hold in compassion those who have been waiting in limbo after being forced to flee their homelands due to violence. I hold in compassion those caught up in hatred because their seeking of wholeness and fullness of life might come into conflict with the beliefs of others. I hold in compassion those who fear that which is different. I do my best to hold in compassion victims and perpetrators, seeking through that compassion to find a way to bridge that which divides us and to heal the world.