Do I grasp the Paschal Mystery? Of course not. Do I believe in it? You bet I do.
Our community heard a presentation a few weeks ago on grief and how we can use contemplative practices as part of the healing process. It was an incredibly moving presentation, especially considering how much grief we have had to bear this past year. To be reminded how normal it is to feel as heavy as we do right now was reassuring.
The speaker told us that she used to watch a lot of sports, and it was an emotional experience. She would get tense and anxious and easily excitable because of her vested interest in whichever team was her favorite to win. “It stole my peace,” she said. If the opposing team wasn’t playing fairly, her blood pressure might rise. If the game was turning into a nail-biter, and it was only the third quarter, you might find her yelling at the television or putting her body and her emotions into the experience.
As she began her contemplative practice, she realized she had to stop watching sports, or at least watching the games or matches in real-time, as we normally do. Instead, she began to record the games, looked up the score the next day, and then decided if she would watch. If her team won, she would watch. If not, well…you know how that goes if you have a favorite team.
Because she knew the outcome beforehand, she was able to watch the game with a greater sense of peace. Even if it didn’t seem as though her team would pull through, she was assured that at the end of the game, they would be the victors. There was no need for anxiety, for tension, for getting too caught up in something as insignificant-in-the-long-run as a sporting match.
Our presenter was a great storyteller, and hearing this alone resonated with me; I am a big sports fan myself. But far greater than any allegiance to any sports team, I have chosen to ally my life with the life of Christ. Our presenter arrived at the true end of her story. “We are Christians. We know the outcome of this game. We believe that the Paschal Mystery is our story, too.”
Why do I get so easily wrapped up in the small stuff of life? Why do I let one insignificant annoyance ruin my day? Why do I feel this desire to control so much that is out of my hands? Why do I allow so many little things to steal my peace?
I believe that our Lenten journey and the days of the Triduum end in “Alleluia.” Not just for Jesus, but for me, too. Can I hold closely to that belief when it feels like the score isn’t in my favor? Can I let go of the tensions and the anxieties of the day, reciting to myself the words of our dear mystic sister, Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well”? Am I striving to become what I believe?