April 15, 2002

Easter Message

I remember as a teenager how I struggled to understand the incarnation and resurrection, I hoped that Jesus would appear to me one Easter morning to make everything clear. I waited -- in the countryside of Jamaica where my parents lived, and later in boarding school with the Sisters as they herded us to participate in the beautiful Triduum services. I waited -- in the convent, through my green years that turned to silver, and now on the verge of gold, every now and then getting glimpses of Asomething -- as in a mirror darkly.

This holy week a dear friend came to visit. For 10 months she has been struggling with illness and the treatment of the cells that are cancering in her. I remember the day I received the news of her illness, how I sat quietly holding her in the heart of God. And in the silence between my breathing and the blazing darkness behind the beating of my heart came God's response, "I am with her." For a moment, time and space bent for me to recognize what is beyond time and space. I had a sense of my friend, sitting beside me, vibrant and smiling at me with a twinkle in her eye. And I knew she would be all right.

That was it. That was all there was to it. No voices, no visions, just a sense of awe and wonder, a dazzling darkness on a bleak day. That day I simply saw what is often there but hidden from my sleeping senses. I knew that was Asomething I had long waited for: an experience of Easter faith. AWaiting in darkness of uncreated light. Within the luminous night, we learn to see that Easter undulates like curtains at the boundary of the soul. When all is said and done the only evidence of the resurrection I have is the corresponding event that takes place in my own soul. Waiting,
Akeeping vigil before the mystery is part of that Easter movement.

So this Easter morning, I rose early, curled up in the chair, and tucking my feet under my nightgown, I waited.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, AThey have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him. (Jn 20:1-2)

By now I am so used to the darkness and waiting, waiting is enough, and darkness cleanses my soul to be receptive. In the darkness I feel something ...a tiny quickening of life in the depths of my being, like the nibbling of a small fish.

I dress quickly and walk outside into the fresh, clean morning. The sun has already risen and the grass and leaves are still wet from the rain. A bird...two birds...three birds fly by, rising into the grey, clouded sky. The morning air is very sweet and lovely; the silent morning, the birds rising and singing alone in the sky, and then suddenly all around me is vibrant and alive. AJesus is risen smiles the budding tree, AAlleluia sing the birds, AJesus is truly risen, roars the car passing by. And all of creation joyously answer from shrub to towering tree , "Yes, he is risen, indeed!"

Happy Easter! May Christ truly "easter" in our hearts.

Marie Chin rsm

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