Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Circle of Life!

Christ our Light

I love the Easter Vigil... For all the obvious reasons; because it is the anniversary of my Reception into the Catholic Church (18 years this Easter); and because there are always baptisms and/or Confirmations, occasions for enormous rejoicing in themselves and symbols of, well, everything that Easter is and means.

As always, our Easter Vigil last night at St John's was beautiful (sadly I haven't any photos - maybe some will be posted on the church blog in due course, whence I can filch them).  As ever, the first Mass of the Resurrection was a spiritual and visual feast of darkness-into-light, flames of faith burning steadfastly within the shadows, bells and voices and a blaze of light as our Saviour rose from His tomb and flooded all times and all places with Resurrection power... a multi-media experience in the best and most authentic sense of the phrase.  The church was full and, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow Christians, I hoped that the wider world (which we could hear in the background enjoying a Saturday night out) might give the occasional glance through the door and register on some level that something very real and very "relevant" was happening here.

It was an occasion of grace, of hope, of strengthening.  Christ is Risen, Alleluia! - He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

During the Vigil a new infant member entered into the Church through Baptism.  With many apologies to him and his family, I can't bring his name to mind (but he was gorgeous!).  After the little one's baptism Fr Richard held him aloft so that his new parish family could rejoice and welcome him with applause.  Fr Richard's gesture struck me as another profound symbol of hope and meaning. It seemed to say, in a sort of ecce homo, not only that here is a new Christian! - but also, behold the wonder of this human person! - ineffably precious, made in the image of God and divinised through the Incarnation of Christ, loved by his Creator so much that He redeemed Him through His own blood.  Furthermore, the little one's presence was a sign that Christ's Church, even in today's cynical, secular world where so many (as the Pope preached at his Easter Vigil) are "groping in the dark" and seemingly "unable to distinguish good from evil", is still alive and growing.

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18).

After Mass our younger son asked, "Why did Father hold the baby up like Simba?" (in the scene from Disney's The Lion King) - to which his older brother remarked, "Because it's 'the circle of life' " (song from same movie). Now, lest anyone should be tempted to think what a cute interchange this was, I will point out that our sons are aged 19 and 22 respectively and they were being a bit silly.  Still, they had a good point.  We were indeed witnessing the circle of life.  We were privileged to be present at the beginning of a new life in Christ entered through the door of baptism; a life which would, by the grace of God, continue nourished through the reception of Holy Communion, strengthened by grace through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, empowered at Confirmation and perhaps directed in service via either marriage or Holy Orders until it entered into eternity through the gates of Viaticum.  Through those years a particular personality would unfold, and that unfolding in itself would be a thing of wonder and a delight to see, but just now the little person held aloft was a mystery and a treasure trove of human and divine potential.  Deo gratias!

Let's pray that every newly conceived human life is seen as a treasure trove, given the chance to be born both naturally and spiritually into its rightful heritage and to unfold its riches over the years, riches of grace and virtue that he or she can finally offer back to the Father as "treasure in heaven".  For it is certain that Jesus Christ longs to hold each little human life up to His Father in thanksgiving and love just as our priest held up our tiny new parishioner last night.

* * * * * * * *

A haiku by Stella (of "Stella's Story")

Life from its starting
Maranatha, softly call
Simple precious gift

    Years ahead praying
    Maranatha, quietly call
    Answered prayers of life
Faith filled years passing
Maranatha, hear my call
Darkness of the soul

    Light shines with praying
    Maranatha, softly call
    God is always there

Eyes to heaven turn
Maranatha, pleading now
Autumn days are close

    Life draws to a close
    Maranatha, You are here
    Forgive my doubting

No comments:

Post a Comment