When we were young, Easter was about baskets filled with colored eggs, peeps, chocolate bunnies, and jelly beans all nestled in the basket on top of plastic green grass, and Easter egg hunts, and of Easter egg hunts, But with age comes knowledge, not only of the mind, but also of the heart.
Even as young man I was drawn to the Mass, I was an Alter boy, even past the age when most boys stop being Alter boys. There was a wondrous mystery about the Mass. especially at Christmas and Easter, a mystery I would not find the answer to for decades to come. The Mass would, and still dose, fill my heart with such warmth, joy, and what . later, I would discover was/is serenity. But I was not the one, there were many others. I once asked my Father, about this, He told me ” We can be thought the Knowledge of Faith, but we will not learn it, until our hearts embrace the Faith.” At the time, this was as much as a mystery as the Mass was.
As I grew older, maybe it was the need to be popular or maybe it was the needs to belong, that is the a part of the human make up. I began to try to with this society, but the more I tried to submit to it’s demands and decrees, the more I drank, until I was a drunk. And falling down what I called an abyss of hopelessness and despair. But for some unknown reason, I found myself walking into St. Patrick’s Church. As I walked past the statue of the great Saint, I swear to you, that he gave me a look, as to say ” It’s about time.” To make a long story short, when I entered St Patrick’s, I did so as a lost child, but when I came out I did so as prodigal son that had come home. I had lost the taste and desire for the drink.
Why? I believe it was the strong foundation of Faith that my Parents gave me, with the help of my Grandmother, my Aunt Pat, my cousins Vernon and Gwen ( we all need living examples), the Priests and Nuns at St. John’s Evangelist School, Father Ruben of the Franciscan retreat near Annapolis, and , for as a child I was greatly influenced by St. Francis of Assisi, I was amazed at how much love and caring he had for not only his fellow man, but for animals too. But as an Adult, there was one man that held the greatest influence over me, Pope John Paul II., St. John Paul the Great, For in his many travels, He was the greatest example of love we had! So you might say that the outcome of my Faith was predictable. I only wish I had seen it a lot earlier.
Soon after St. Patrick’s, I found myself in Williamsburg, helping to take of my Mother. But I found at St, Bede’s my Faith was to be greatly enhanced. For first, there was Fr, Jim Curran, observing him with the parishioners and students I witness the living Faith. The we had Father John Abe as our Pastor, Fr. Abe had an amazing gift for engaging the mind on the subject of Faith, Which in my family, to win over our minds is essential! If you do not then I assure you find yourself in a long and fruitless debate, we are a stubborn bunch. He so amazingly quick. Then we Had as our Pastor Monsignor Michael McCarron, who had a gift of awaken the Spirit and Passion of our Faith the hearts of other, For me this was essmyial for i was the one who inherited my Mothers Passion and Spirit for life. Noe we have Monsignor Tim Keeney, we seems to have a combination of both Fr.Abe and Monsignor Mike’s gifts. So the growth of my Faith is in place, it is only up to my heart to take advantage of it.
One Sunday about ten years ago, my Mother and I went to St.Bede’s, to go to Mass. As I entered, I saw the most most beautiful lady and when she smiled, I new in my heart that here was the one that I could love and care bout with all my heart. But. and here is always a but, I knew whereas, I was poor as a bog Irishman and as my brother would say that I was the enigma of this society, the exception rather then the rule. And remembering those lost 25 years, where I was a victim of this society. I knew this this time, she would be, and my heart knowing it would not be able to handle, being responsible for for one tear being shed from beautiful eyes. So my heart decided to make the sacrifice in hopes that she will be happy. For I knew that real love, true love is not only the physical display of affection, but in truth an overwhelming desire in the heart to make the other person happy, even if it take making a sacrifice. I saw this same desire between my parents, then between them and each one of us kids. Later I realize to a lesser degree, that this desire we offer to other members of our family and to our friends. But then I realized that when we help those who are in need or care and comfort those who are sick and dying, are not trying to make them happy? Are these not acts of love?
Now you might be wondering what dose my story have to do with Easter? Well do you remember in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter took a sword and cut off you of the ears of one of the guards that came to arrest our Blessed Lord, our Lord picked up the ear and replaced it, was that not an act of Love? We must remember that they tormented and tortured our Lord, unmercifully. They beat him with rods, the whipped him, until his back was bloody and raw. Then they placed a crown thrones an a robe and marched him around tormenting and him as the King of the Jews, But the greatest humiliation was to make him carry the interment of his own death the cross, then they marched through the town where the public could torment and jeer him. When they got to the place of his death, they nailed his feet and his wrist to the cross, and when the hoisted him up, his body sank in a very agonizing fashion. But as a centurion pierced his side with a lance, there were three at his feet Joseph of Amirethia, a woman, and St.John, The woman was our Blessed Lord’s Mother Mary, one can only imagine the torment and agony she must have felt, not only to see her Son on that condition, but also to witness his death. But before he died his forgive those that tormented, tortured and killed him. ” For give them, for they do not know what they do” This is the greatest sacrifice one can do for those he loved. By doing this I believe he reinforced his commandment ” Love thy neighbor, I love you” by teaching us the one will have to make sacrifices for those they love. He loves us so, that he arose again so that he would be around for us, all we have to do is turn and fellow him! that’s all fellow him! I know that in today’s society that is allot easier said then done.
Easter is, to me, not just a time reflection and renewal, but it is a tim of joyful adoration.
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as I kneel before the Cross
Looked up to a figure of a man
a man of fresh and bones
but a spirit ever so divine.
For upon his divine head
was a crown of thrones
a crown of pain and blood
the crown of
the prince of peace.
For his wrist was nailed
as were his feet into the cross
a piercing wound
from a centurion’s spear
as his Blessed Mother sadly kept the vigil
as his executioners gambled
for his simple belongings
as dark clouds gathered
and thunder rolled across the heavens
as if God’s wrath was present.
For he lift his head
and to his Father
for he spoke of his heart
” Father forgive them
for they know what they do”
for he placed eternal salvation
at man’s feet.
For as his life came to a end
his spirit ascended to his Father
for he be in every heart
with his love, peace and joy
For this be a day
of joyful adoration.
We are given Responsibilities, the spiritual ones as well as the secular ones. Both must be applied with the greatest sense of honor and integrity. If we are to fulfill these objurgations. But we must also realize the honor and integrity are strongly discouraged by our society. Therefore, honor and integrity are lost to most of us, which makes fulfilling these responsibilities a difficult one.
( I speck as a Catholic)
We all have a responsibility to our Faith, to the teachings of our Faith. Not only by our words but by our actions. But to do so will put us in conflict with our society, which only respects the seven deadly sins. And like most spiritual conflicts with this society we may be lift battered and worn.
For us to fulfill our responsibilities to out Faith, with honor and integrity. Means we do not go to Mass out of some tradition, nor do we go to be seen as good Christians. But rather we go, because our hearts are drawn to it. For it is the only way we can receive the gifts of the Mass. We must accept the mysteries of our Faith, as questions the human mind can not comprehend.
In our daily lives, we must express our Faith, not just by words, but more so, by our actions.We must forgive those who have harmed us, if they are to forgive us when we harm them. We must love our neighbors, as He loves us. We must help those who are in need, and we must ” give unto Caesar’s that which is Caesar’s, and give onto God that which is God’s.” ( this is the best definition of separation of Church and State) We must be examples of our Faith. We must allow our Faith to guide us in our secular lives.
For without Faith man can only exist, but with Faith man lives.For every man is born with a Faith in their Souls, only if by their own free will the recognize and embrace it.For then man can achieve great and wonderful things, for great and wonderful things arises from man’s Soul.
Our secular responsibilities, must also be dome with honor and integrity, and we demand that of those that we elect, or if you wish, hire. They,are the ones who we hire to represent us and leads us. They must accept their prime responsibility; to provide, secure, and maintain the welfare and common good of the citizenry, with honor and integrity. If they do not, we must give them their walking papers.Then we must elect/hire those that will meet the above criteria But if no one on the ballot fits that criteria , then we must seek those that will, off the ballot. Why do you think the “Framers” give us the right to an write in ballot? Some say that a write in vote is a waste, but I submit to you that no act of conscience is a waste.
We must not be afraid to discuss or debate the issue (s), at hand, but we must not allow them to descend into arguments, for that will only defeat the purpose of the discussion/debates. We do not do so, as democrats/liberals nor as republicans/conservatives, but as individuals with an independent mind. Then we must compromise for the common, if we are to achieve the consensus of the majority. For how else can those that we elect/hire, represent us and no in which direction to lead us.
We must honor the true definition of politics, that is, the business of life, for sooner or later everything in life will be legislated. Therefore the greatest fools, are those who say they are not interested in politics or wish to be involved in politics, for they are a part of the problem and not of the solution. But their’s is a greater shame, for by their words and actions they tell the world that they are not interested in life, nor do they wish to be involved in life.
We must first, allow our Faith to guide us in our secular lives, which means we must allow our Faith to influence our vote.(we must have separation of Church and State on the secular level, but we can not do so as individuals) Second, we must be examples of honor and integrity, if those that we elect/hire are to serve with honor and integrity. And we must open our minds and have the courage of our convictions.