I used to love praying with the Resurrection stories, to imagine myself being one of those women, going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body once again. After the horrors of the Passion, I would want to just be with Jesus, like we do at Wake Services for our sisters and our loved ones…
I used to think it would be wonderful to find him gone – to discover the tomb empty – to meet him in the garden alive again.
Glorious, right?! All those wonderful resurrection images we pray with in the spring… The seed in the ground, pushing its way to the light… the butterfly emerging from the cocoon all lovely and free.
And then I went to…
• our Chapter of 1996 and heard Miriam Therese MacGillis say that growth and transformation does not come out of order, but out of chaos.
• a Religious Formation Conference, and heard Mary Pellegrino, CSJ tell us that within the DNA of every caterpillar is the coding, the “imaginal disks”, that begin the transformation into a butterfly, but when the disks start replicating, the caterpillar’s body treats them like foreign substances and attacks them. The imaginal disks cannot be stopped, though, and the caterpillar disintegrates within the cocoon! The butterfly DNA continues to replicate until the butterfly emerges.
What is your favorite image for transformation?
Does it take into account the chaos, the struggle, the time invested … that real life involves?
Are we, like the caterpillar, fighting the very energy (Spirit-life) that will bring us freedom and life?
Looking at the print of Mary Magdalene meeting the Resurrected Jesus in the newly published, hand written Illuminated Bible, I found this image:
The colors are dark; we can’t see Jesus’ face --
– and Mary Magdalene seems serious and concerned, reflecting the suffering, pain and emptiness of the past two days more than the glory of Easter. Her hand is raised to touch the face of Jesus, but it is hesitant, transparent, almost afraid.
The image of the 3 crosses is in the picture to the left of Jesus; the two angels at the tomb are on the right, as are the palms from Palm Sunday. The memories of the past are still present, but they don’t hold Jesus back from who He is now, the Resurrected One.
And the Light is breaking in, because one moment is not the whole story; we know that Jesus lives, the Kindom of God is here, now, in “seed” form…
Do you see a pattern here? As Stella Morra said so clearly at the Congregational Assembly, the death of Jesus was an event; his Resurrection is a mystery. Jesus is a human person, living a Resurrected Life, transformed after – and by – the suffering He experienced. But he did live through it … and so must we. And in our human experience, resurrection – transformation – does not happen instantly; it is also shrouded in mystery.
At the end of his book, Religious Life for the 21st Century, Diarmuid O’Murchu names 10 resources that he believes will be needed by any religious congregation that survives into the future: cosmic consciousness, contemplative immersion, earth literacy, community empowerment, awareness of economic alternatives to capitalism, active engagement in mass media, training in law, understanding of political networking, multi-faith dialogue; a theology of companionship.
What struck me as I finished reading these – This is us! This is us! Everyone does not have everything; some characteristics are more present in one area than another, but as Sister Nzenzili Lucie Mboma, FMM said at the Assembly – “I am because we are.” We are!
And suddenly, I am filled with hope, not because the world is transformed and the Kindom of God is here, a lived reality among us, clear and present, so that everyone is a part of it; but because we, small as we are, are a community of faith, maybe a “remnant” of who we were, but we are, and we are here now. We are the mustard seed, small, seemingly useless, a weed really… and because we are small, we are transformable, by the grace of God in the Resurrected Jesus; and we are called to be “apostles of development”, Apostles of the Resurrected Jesus, to set free the Healing Energy of Christ in the Community of Life.
Questions for Reflection:
What gives you hope?
Do you see “us” in seed form, in any of the characteristics named by O’Murchu? Where? How?
By Sister Jo-Ann Jackowski, SFP
Published: April 21, 2017