A Meditation For Easter
The EnCourage Trust FAITH Magazine March-April 2004
The New Life of Spring
Easter is a joyful time. A time for celebration. Spring is in the air. Birds are chirping. Local grasslands are carpeted by daffodils. Days are lighter longer. Our preparation through Lent to Good Friday is always repentance, resignation and conviction thus facilitating the Holy Spirit to guide us to acts of love and help and surrender, to God, our neighbour and ourselves. We found fasting was good but not as good as giving. I pray that you will all experience a great Eastertide.
Where are You today? It is an important question. We need a vision, a map or a plan for life, where we are, where we have come from and where we are going. We have to renew and recommit ourselves daily, monthly and annually. If we fall we pick ourselves up off the ground, brush off the dirt and continue along the path through the green valleys and up the rocky mountain. It can be hard, very hard, and at times a painful slog. We follow proudly the great saints of our Church, the folk we admire and our ancestors who were martyred for their faith. We walk; we climb, singing to the Lord.
The Blessings Of Being Catholic
We are most fortunate of folk in that we belong to the Catholic Church. The Church was born of Jesus Christ. We follow the Son of God – Jesus our leader and friend, our Saviour and Redeemer. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church Christ began and remains with and within. If we do not believe that then we only have a man made and centred club. It could be called Catholic, but in reality it would be anything but! The way we connect with our fellow Christians is in the local faith community, the parish church. We know and are known by many people in the parish. It is the parish priest who leads worshippers in Mass and administers the sacraments. The sacraments are miraculous in that through the intercession of the Holy Spirit and elements and the produce of man – bread, wineoil and water and the hands of the priest, we can actually be touched and healed by the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Fantastic; every Eucharist is an Epiphany. Many of us are involved in the ministries and groups in our parishes. Isn’t it amazing that in any large town you can hear Mass almost morning, noon and, well not quite, night.
And yet as I continue to read through the postbag there remain the repeated difficulties many of you receive from some local clergy. Members of the church do sometimes show a lack of concern and fail to understand our problems – for instance living life, for most of us, as a single person. Every year I am upset by personal testimonies of inappropriate advice given by seemingly good priests during a time of confession. This is always confidential and I say no more here. There have been times that I almost wanted to cry. For I love my Church. I don’t want to be anything but a Catholic.
On the other hand the vast majority of priests are good and helpful men, many overburdened. Like us they fail and fall. On the whole in this country we can be most grateful for the help and guidance our members receive. I have been most fortunate in this respect. I believe we must continue to have faith in our priests, faith in God, faith in our friends and perhaps for us faith in ourselves most of all.
The Hope And The Pain Of Conversion
With a vision, with a good conscience in tune with the commandments and statutes of the Church, which we in EnCourage love, we can live a good life and be examples to others. Hope can put a spring in our step. With grace and guidance and the sacraments we know the life Jesus Christ wants us to follow. We must keep away from compromising our faith and morals; it is not easy, but we can have the joy of Christ while picking up our cross daily. If we are with Jesus he will always help us. With Christ by our side we will want to open up to other Catholics, family and friends, also colleagues at work or wherever. Let us renew our mission to spread the good news.
A major step to life would be to discard to the dustbin of our history the gay lifestyle wherever its debauchery touched us. This may have been in public or private groups and clubs, the publications found in such venues and lifestyles of their followers. Initially it will be very difficult to wrench oneself away from an accepted familiarity. Much prayer and help from others will lead us to escape from the repeating groove of this culture. Begin to move away from immodesty and gay attire including clinging clothing and wandering around known “local” haunts.
Coming Out Into Real Freedom
To a Christian this is hell on earth and we should pray for those who still believe in the lie. With the grace of God I pray that you will be able to discard that heavy and unnecessary old horse harness and don’t forget to remove the blinkers too! Be like butterflies that have broken out of their cocoon. Fly unencumbered to the skies, to music, to nature; open the eyes of your mind to God’s freedom, to joy in the spirit. To have freedom is to love and follow Jesus as He leads us. He will help us find a place in his church, He will help us find out about friendship and to know more about each other and find each other in His love.