Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 5, 2004
Walk through grief to God's glory
A soul stumbles on it's trek to Easter
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
Listen during the celebratory shouts of Alleluia on Easter and you just might hear a stifled sob.
That person, like me, could still be caught up in the slaying of Christ, his tortured death, the duplicity of those around him. Tangled in grief, we are unable to step forward into the triumphant joy of the resurrection.
Each year, the vow is the same. I shall take that joyous step. And each year, my cheeks are tear-stained on Easter Sunday.
But this Easter shall be different. So to finally keep that promise to God and myself, I sought counsel from voices in our community to help me understand just what was - and was not - happening within my stumbling soul.
As I set out on my quest, I remember Toronto priest/poet Pier Giorgio Di Cicco's wry words,
"A man searching for meaning is [God's] least favourite thing."
A priest whose prayer is his poetry, Di Cicco's words are, ironically, also the final prompt for my spiritual slogging.
"i am omega-climber, job, thief on the cross;
I am many personifications, without the lesson
An Oblate signposts
The first guiding voice comes from the inner city's Sacred Heart shepherd. Oblate father Jim Holland's guidance is fast, shot straight from the soul.
"You are a victim of the Church that keeps you staying on the cross. He had to go through this to get to the resurrection.
"Life is brutal. It is just as brutal now as it was then, but in a different way. Back then, life was brutal physically. He died on the cross. Many Jews died on the cross."
Holland pauses for the briefest of seconds, then concludes, "The crucifixion is just part of the journey. It is a way for the resurrection. So yes this is a time for joy, a time of Alleluia. He did this for us."
The journey analogy clicks.
Father Mike McCaffery picks up on the grief aspect hamstringing my stumbling soul.
"Everyone's grieving is different. You do it in your own time."
When he counsels people going through divorce, McCaffery finds some recover within a year others maybe as long as four to eight years and some do not recover at all.
"The goal is to accept it and go forward," says McCaffery.
Irish himself, the St. Joseph's Basilica priest pointed to my shamrock green roots, saying, "Death is so much part of the Irish culture."
Describing himself as an Irish romantic, McCaffery's words are gentle. "Each person takes their own time. You cannot force it. And know that Easter is about hope"
As I reflected on McCaffery's counsel, I realize the bottom-line truth in writer Maurice Nedoncelle's words, "Without the resurrection, Good Friday would only be the triumph over evil."
Social Justice Commission director John Lynch picks up on the triumph aspect of Easter.
"Jesus being dead and resurrected is a sign of triumph for us. But we have to buy into it. You're not buying in."
Like McCaffery, he also zeros in on my ancestory.
"You're Irish. And the Irish tend to be morbid and superstitious."
An Irishman himself, Lynch remembers, "When I was growing up, religion was 90 per cent superstition and ten per cent prayer.
"That Irish superstition is something you really have to override. It is bred into us."
And Lynch has a solution.
'The biggest thing to focus on is Christ is risen. And the best way for you to do it is to see the kind of Christ that Thomas would have seen. Because he said, 'Put your finger into my side.'
"It was there. It was reality. But this is a healed reality."
And Lynch's Jesuit heart spoke as he explains, "He has redeemed us. The major point is the resurrection, the glory of Christ. And he can bring that to us only if we let him."
"We have to walk away from all of our baggage and that is not necessarily easy. So give it over to God."
What will happen if I do this?
"You will find peace," promises Lynch. "You will still know anger. But your anger should reflect on a world where men and woman have failed to accept the meaning of the resurrection and have allowed injustice into the world.
"If there is grief, then that is where it should be."
Such wise, strong beacons of perceptions now light my faith path.
So it is now up to me, my prayer and my willingness to hand it over to my Lord God as I walk through my grief into Christ's glory Easter Sunday.