This morning, I eagerly read Father Richard Rohr’s Easter message from his Center for Action and Contemplation, entitled “Death Transformed,” and then watched his brief video, which accompanied it (https://cac.org/death-transformed-2020-04-12/). As he always does, Father Rohr inspired many thoughts and ideas within me. I share some of them here. Perhaps they will resonate with you.
The title of this blog might seem cynical or careless. It is anything but that, however. In fact, it is meant to emphasize that the themes of this most sacred holiday on the Christian calendar are essential to examine and then affirm everyday, again and again and again.
And what are these themes? As Father Richard explains in today’s video and in his many books, especially in The Universal Christ, the contemplative, awakened life is based on universal truths. One is that God, Spirit, the Divine are soaked into the very essence of life itself. Every sunset, every blade of grass, every chipmunk, every flower, every precious baby, every loving (and even unloving) vibration reflect the oneness of God. Divine presence is everywhere and every expression of life reminds us that creation is imbued with God’s love. What we recognize as life and spirit are never separate; they are intimately interwoven. Together they form oneness. The desert fathers understood and expressed this. The mystics wrote about such themes and even suffered for expressing them.
Which brings us to another essential truth. Suffering is part of the very experience of life. And it’s not a by-product or a shadow side or even the downside of being human and having free will. It is much more integral to truth than that. Without the suffering, the breaking open, the moments of emptiness and grief we all experience at some point in our lives, there would be no opening for Spirit to enter to lead us to elevation and evolution. The suffering is the invitation. It is the call to more. It is most often only in the darkness of despair that the spark of truth and inspiration is visible and meaningful to us at all. In the well-lit arena of our “normal” days, we usually not only fail to notice the Divine spark, but we are also unmoved by it. A candle in a lighted room appears irrelevant. In a dark space, however, it is essential; it is not only light itself, but it also illuminates everything around it.
As Father Rohr expresses here, the cycle of birth, life, and death (as represented in the life of Jesus and which culminates in His passion, crucifixion, and resurrection) is woven into the very essence of life itself. Life is never static; in every particle, cell, living organism, there is an energy which becomes, exists, and then dies. This is the endless ebbing and flowing. This is the forever cycle of becoming, being, and perishing. The energy never disappears. It simply transforms and transmutes. And this pattern occurs over and over and over again.
Although Christians celebrate this Sunday, Easter Sunday, as the most sacred holy day of the year, in truth every day offers us the potential to experience Easter. Every day can avail us the resurrection–not just with a capital “R,” as it relates to Jesus, but also in any moment of rebirth, new life, and refreshment of the spirit. And we are reborn to what? We are realigned and renewed with Source itself. We are resurrected into our true selves, reunited with the Universal Christ that calls to us unceasingly.
Any time we are able to turn our attention away from pain and despair, even if just for a moment, and appreciate something joyful and beautiful, we are refreshed. Every time we are able to show another person kindness in spite of our own disappointment or pain, we are reborn. Every time we are able to love unconditionally, which is to say above and beyond cultural conditions or egoic needs, we are resurrected from old behavioral patterns or imprisoned thoughts.
On this Easter Sunday, whether we are Christian or not, whether we are traditionally religious or not, let this be part of our experience, that we seek the mystic message of Easter in all things and at all times. May we not save these celebrations for specific days or times on the calendar. Rather, as Father Rohr, St. Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, and other mystics and theologians have taught us, let us seek to understand and celebrate the very essence of Being and Source as described as the Three Transcendentals: what is good, true, and beautiful. They are everywhere, everyday.
Yes, let us happily proclaim, “It’s Easter Again!”