How many times do we linger in self-pity? Avoid hardships because life appears unbearable. Still fearing death. For some, Christ has not yet suffered. Christ hasn’t shown us how to deal with life’s struggles. For some, Christ hasn’t died yet. For some, Christ is still alive.
How many times do we linger in anxiety? Anxious about so many things. Many of which we have no control over. So, we love to worry ourselves into a web of distress. For how many of us is the belief that there is no spiritual consolation. There is only isolation, living only for ourselves and holding ever so tightly on anything we can grab hold of. For some, Christ has not yet risen. Christ hasn’t shown us the new life that each day provides. The new life of losing a friend of many years and ignoring the new friend who reaches out to us. For some, Christ has not died and never rose. He is still alive.
How many times do we spend our time in endless devotions that provide little or no spiritual consolation? Weeping at our prayers. Going through prayerful exercises and ending up with the same emptiness when we began. For some, Christ has not yet risen. He is still alive. The opposite folks live life believing everything is festive and joyful for them; days pass in a continual song of Alleluia. But the milk must be withdrawn from then, and they must learn to live on solid food, says Hebrews. Deep inside themselves, they feel deserted by the Lord and bereft of grace. For some, Christ has not yet ascended. He is still alive.
How many times do we leave the upper room and aimlessly roam on our own? “Bereft of grace.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit are lost to us because they are nowhere to be found. How often do we spend our time thinking and believing that our lives are meaningless, bereft of purpose? For some, there is no Pentecost. No dove is hovering and protecting us with her seven priceless, divine gifts.
Anxiety, weeping, sorrow, confusion are all natural human emotions expressed throughout our lives. To remain in any of them is to see with a blind eye. To stay in any of them is to turn our ears deaf.
How sad for those who live sealed-off lives.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux inspired this reflection. How sad for those who’ve missed the great victory they might triumph over our common adversary and trample Satan under their feet, says St. Matthew.
Christ never died. Christ never rose from the dead. Christ never ascended to be with his Father. There are no seven divine gifts to give us a meaningful, purposeful life for our entire lives, no matter our age. (And, as I age, especially for all ages.) For some, there is no “Christ.” There is only Jesus who continues to live among and within our murky, gloomy lives.