Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Joy of Good Friday

In the early 1990s, when I was a Catholic-wannabee and then a neophyte, God showered my life with a lot of graces in a rather intense way. I've come to think it was because I was taking such a huge step forward and I needed lots of extra help to stay the course. Also, I was suddenly in contact with tons more "means of grace" as the Lutherans would have said, than I was accustomed to.

Conversations with God flowed pretty freely in those days. For Christmas in 1991 (the day after God called me to become a Catholic) I received as a gift a little cloth-covered book, like a mini-diary. I quickly got the idea to write down in it whatever I believed the Lord spoke to my heart.

And so it is that I have one of these conversations written down. I will quote:

Sunday, August 15 (1993) -- Assumption
On the way to Mass, I asked the Lord what His most joyous moment/day on earth was. For many minutes I thought of what it might be. Then the Lord reminded me of Luke 15:7, of the great rejoicing over the one sinner who repents. So I asked Him "which repentant sinner gave you that most joyous moment/day?" And He replied, "Peter."

Now, at the time, what I focused on in this was the importance of Peter as the head of the Church, as the one with the charism as leader. This was very powerfully important to me at the time as a new Catholic, because I understood for the first time that leadership in the Church is primarily a spiritual, supernatural thing.

But just the other day, the Lord brought this 19-year-old conversation to mind again. I read it again, and thought about it some more.

On what day did Peter repent? What, by extrapolation, does this very personal conversation with the Lord serve to teach me (regardless, of course, of its completely unverifiable veracity)? Well, that day was Good Friday, the day the Lord died. Lord, what was your most joyous day on earth? Good Friday.

Now that thought blew me away.

This is called having the perspective of heaven, the perspective of eternity.

Lately the Lord has been calling me to rejoice in Him and His great and powerful work, despite the fact that simultaneously I see things with my eyes that cause me to think of anything but rejoicing. But it makes sense. Jesus Christ is the ultimate reality of the universe, and He is here, now, in the midst of our sufferings and sadness, and witnessing all of the evil loose on the earth. He is with us through all of it. Heaven surrounds us with grace and help and power to overcome. Heaven empowers us to call down that grace and make it flow here. Christ is risen; this means that no cross we can bear is the final word of our lives. We know the final word, and it is Hallelujah.

As the old saying goes, "It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'!"

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