Twelve years ago, the then-Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, called/invited/urged/encouraged students to "let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage it constructively." This Holy Week urges us all to invite this "gritty reality" into our own lives to do and to achieve the same things. Each year, Lent and Holy Week invite us to examine the life and death of Jesus, not just to be confronted by the very real horrors of His persecution, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to learn that God works in and through the bad times of our lives, as well as the good times.
In the past six months, the news has overflowed with people all over the world struggling for ideals, noble struggles that produced reactions of violence and death. Each day, increasingly horrific examples showed us the many ways people can denigrate, oppress and marginalize each other in ever more terrifying ways. Each day we may be tempted to push those images and facts out of our lives by pretending they are so far away, so much somebody else's concern, so not important in our own lives. Those facts, though, show others, not us. Those facts, though, show the others we say we men and women are for.
Fr. Kolvenbach and this Holy Week, remind us that God works in all parts of our lives, in all people in our lives, and that our own salvation came through similar horrors and violence as we struggle to make sense of the gritty reality of today. These times challenge--and ask, and require, even--each of us to examine the way we have allowed or pushed away, the horrible stories in our own world.
These times challenge--and ask, and require, even--us to look honestly at how we are connected to the people who are far away, perhaps, but still connected with them in their struggle. This is a time to reflect on how we have been changed by the news of this world and how we have learned to feel, think, respond and engage in the ever contemporary human struggle with humanity. These times, frankly, nourish our activities and prayer in Lent more real-ly, and more fully, than only worrying about, or considering, ourselves.
This Holy Week invites us to learn about a God Who we find and recognize not only in the orderly beauty of this world, but also in the frequently messy and often confused parts of our lives--our gritty reality. Ours is a God who gets "dirty" in every real and gritty part of our lives, no matter what they may entail. Ours is a God involved in this world, though, only if we can have the courage and trust to let the events around us reflect His presence. This is the foundation of the Ignatian call to see God in all things".
Have a blessed Holy Week...
Let this very holy week help you see the real meaning of Easter for us, today.