Friday, April 13, 2018

Alleluia: Sorrow, Joy and Hope

Written by  Catherine Renneberg

This Easter season has been full of twists and turns. I went to the Easter Triduum at the Cathedral, and it was absolutely beautiful. The Easter vigil will be a highlight of the year, with breathtaking music and an awesome experience of our faith community. It was an absolute joy to see the congregation huddle around the baptismal fount to welcome twenty-six new members into the church.

But this past week has also been spent meditating on the mystery of God’s ways. Amongst the joy of the Easter season, the celebrations of God’s mercy for us, we mourn and lament the tragedy of the Humboldt Bronco hockey team. We light the Easter candle and finally sing Alleluia, while simultaneously offering prayers of sorrow and devastation. This paradox of the Christian faith seems most obvious this year as we confront the profound and mysterious realities of life and death on this earth. I have been learning more and more about the sacredness but also the fragility of our lives together. The heartbreak of these past few days has rested on incredible signs of solidarity and support, and with that I have felt new hope arising in what all too often feels like a divided and despairing culture. As we process the tragedy and pray for the community of Humboldt, I cannot help but be edified by our world as we try to climb to our feet during such a tremendous tribulation.

Pope Francis just released his newest letter, called Gaudete et Exusultate – “Be Glad and Rejoice”, where he exhorts the world to keep in mind our call to holiness. Papa Franceso tells us that we should strive for holiness in our lives, and to keep vigilant as we walk forward in our relationship with Christ. He reminds us that holiness happens here on earth, in our relationship with others. He says “Let us be spurred on by the signs of holiness that the Lord shows us through the humblest members of [His] people”. I have seen that holiness lived out again and again, as we rally together in the big and little to support the wounded among us. The amazing love and support shown internationally to the little city of Humboldt is inspiration for me to choose to continue loving those around me, and to strive to be holy out of love for God and the world. I have to continue to have hope in our life yet to come in heaven, as promised by God Himself. There are so many questions that arise through times of grief and helplessness, and all I can do is trust in the mercy of God, knowing that He too weeps with us.

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