He is Risen!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:5)  “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:13)  Christ is risen!  Let us not remain at the empty tomb.  Let us not go back to places of death to live in darkness and bondage and to listen to lies.  He is not thereHE IS RISEN!  Let us go to where our Lord Jesus is, in our baptized souls, in the Eucharist, in His Word, in Heaven at the right hand of the Father,  and remain in His kingdom.  Listen to what Jesus has to say, allow His words to abide in you, and live in His truth.  Receive His mercy, receive His love, receive His life.  It is free. It is overflowing. It never ends.

“Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight in fatness.  Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” Isaiah 55:1-3

When we want to know how to live the truth of Christ well, we always look to Mary, our model, to imitate and listen to her and to deepen our relationship with she who is our Mother.  It is especially fitting in this month of May in which we honor and crown Our Lady with special devotion.

In the Annunciation, we see how Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and with complete openness to God, conceived Christ in her womb.  The inscription on the back of the Sisters’ medals (worn around our necks) is from a poem written about Our Lady the morning after the Annunciation.  It says, “And nothing would again be casual or small,” the poem goes on, “but everything with Light invested, overspilled with terror and divinity.”  Nothing would again be casual or small, for Christ had entered the world; Christ had united His divinity with our fallen humanity in the womb of Mary.  Everything was now different, everything new, “everything with Light invested, overspilled with terror and divinity.”

From a conference given by John Cardinal O’Connor, he says,

“‘Nothing would again be casual or small.’  To whom does that happen?  To a person with a great onrush of faith?  To a person with new hope after deep gloom?  It happens when a woman or a man falls in love. From that moment onward, ‘nothing would again be casual or small.’  …It is love that moves the world… It is love that stirs our being.  It is love that makes us look at everything differently.  What happens to a woman, a man in love?  Suddenly the whole world seems changed!  Everything work-a-day seems wonderful!  A ride in the crowded bus or subway is an adventure!

It is love that changes everything.  It is love that prompts, that impels, that drives the Sisters [and Co-Workers] of Life.  The love of Christ, the love of the unborn baby, the love of the outcast, the love of every human being made in the image and likeness of God.  This is the reason for the existence of the Sisters of Life [and their Co-Workers], not simply that they believe in the sanctity of human life… Not simply that they believe that one day the culture of death will be replaced by the culture of life.  Many people so hope.  But to be a Sister of Life [to be a Co-Worker of Life] we must fall in love.  We must fall in love with life, but life is Christ and Christ is love.  Christ is love…This is what changed everything for Mary.  This is what filled the “virginal gloom” of her womb with light and happiness and radiance and joy.  Mary was filled with love because she was filled with Christ.  The Holy Spirit poured Christ into the elements of her being and conceived love with in her.”  –  John Cardinal O’Connor, 1997

Through the power of the Resurrection, this is what our risen Lord does for us.  He opens the locked doors of our hearts by the power of His love and mercy and frees us to love and be loved.  He has freed us to receive His Holy Spirit in baptism and throughout our lives that we too, like Mary, may conceive Christ beneath our hearts, that we may be filled with Love and experience that nothing would again be casual or small, but everything filled with Light, overspilled with divinity, everything new…

We also see Mary’s response to our Lord’s love, through the scenes of the Visitation where she proclaimed her “Magnificat.”  The experience of Christ’s resurrection gives us opportunity to proclaim our own magnificat like Mary, for not only has He “remembered His promise of mercy,” but He has fulfilled it.

As we unite our sufferings, our wounds to Christ on the Cross (with every sacrifice of the mass throughout the world), as we wait in patience with Mary at His feet, giving our fiat (our yes) in total trust and surrender, with expectant hope in the Father’s promise and in Christ’s words, as we contemplate and encounter Love on the Cross, as we constantly receive the outpouring of blood and water from His Sacred Heart, as we allow Jesus to love us and tell us, “I know everything and it’s okay, I love you, I absolve you of your sins, you are forgiven, go in peace, I will never leave you,” as we allow the power of His resurrection to heal us and free us from the bondage of sin and the lies of the evil one, more and more will the Father’s gift of His Holy Spirit be free to live in our hearts, more and more will we conceive Christ beneath our hearts, more and more will we have the eyes to see Christ’s beauty, truth, goodness, and sacredness in ourselves and in every human person and more and more will we have the capacity to receive it all as gift.

…And how much we will be like Mary, how much we will look like Mary, for the response of our hearts at receiving a gift such as Mercy, such as Love, such as Christ, can only be that of Mary’s—a complete self-forgetfulness, a total giving of herself in haste! …a deep humility, an overflowing gratitude, a pervading joy, a constant living of her “Fiat” and proclaiming her “Magnificat.”