Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer #61: Roll Away the Stone


I love wearing contacts. I hate wearing my old glasses. So imagine my personal torment when allergies forced me to revert to my high-school pair of four-eyes last Thursday.

Holy Thursday, to be precise. Which meant I had to attend Mass with these nerdy specs on. Which meant they'd itch my face. And make me look 12. And blow my cover as a somewhat cool person.

Not to be outwitted, I removed the offending spectacles the minute I picked a pew. However, considering I can't see a person's face when she's standing right in front of me, not having them on rendered me practically blind. (A small sacrifice to maintain my fashion integrity.) So I "looked" around the church -- at the blurred mosaics, at the dot of the priest, at the smudges in my songbook -- in an attempt to look normal.

A curious thing happened, though, as the service began. I realized my sight didn't matter. I knew the responses; I recited the prayers; I remembered the songs. I did not need to see any of it to experience it. Everything required to celebrate and pray was already within me.

They say seeing is believing, and I don't doubt it. But I learned in that moment that seeing isn't necessarily a prerequisite for believing. For such is faith -- the ability to participate without proof.

Prayer #61: Roll Away the Stone

When they couldn't find You in the tomb, they panicked.

"Why is he gone? Who took him? Where did he go?"

Why, who, where. The same questions I ask for each tomb I encounter in our daily lives, for each dark corner of grief and pain I venture into.

The struggling relationship ... the bad work day ... a night of despair ... a helpless situation ... the search for meaning. Each time I meet them I rush in, expecting to see and feel the sorrow I'm certain is there. But these tombs are empty and echoing, just like the one your followers discovered on Easter morning.

If only I could remember that the mystery which frightens me -- the vanished body, the empty fear -- also consoles me. That each disappearance promises deliverance. And that tombs are nothing but dark rooms with light a mere wall away.

Lord, help me remember all this when the dark is most impenetrable, so my Easter faith stays bright.

Alleluia, Amen!

Photo by Untitled Blue

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