Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Once again, we begin the Holiest of Weeks. We sing, “We remember, we celebrate, we believe.”

Personally, I remember glimpses of the 53 Holy Weeks I have celebrated as a priest.

Often, I’d be so concerned about remembering all the details a ceremony required, that it was a little difficult to really - “get happy” – until it was all over. Then I’d breathe a sigh of relief and the celebration would begin for me.

I’m not sure where this Twitch is going to end up, but right now I’m thinking about all the people in all the parishes with whom I celebrated. Seven parishes, one of them twice, and throw in a seminary for good measure.

The big question is, did I come any closer to Christ? I certainly learned more and more about Him over the years, but did I really come closer?

In these good days of Lent 2021, I have found myself more and more focused on the Passion of Christ. Every time I pray the sorrowful mysteries, I feel the suffering Jesus went through. I’m not suffering, but I am more aware – and amazed - at just what the scriptures try to tell us about His experience. Jon Meacham’s The Hope of Glory has been a great companion. He recounts the seven last words. As I pray the last sorrowful mystery, I recall the words as I recite the Hail Marys.

This week celebrates our Hope of Glory with tears and smiles. Please God, we end up with more of the latter. Our Holy Week becomes more special when we realize we didn’t even have one last year. It’s hard to believe what we’ve been through. Every time I begin to edge around a “Poor us” thought, the image of Jesus struggling with the Cross blots out self-pity. I’m grateful for in that gratitude, I can’t overlook the price Jesus paid... as I said, more and more aware.

Over the years, some ideas have hung on. For example, one is that his agony in the garden was about a lot more than physical suffering. I’ve always believed that mixed in with the dread of the physical is the heart-wrenching realization that everyone He had come to say anything to about His Father’s love, for one reason or another, couldn’t or wouldn’t hear him. There he was, in a quiet space, alienated, isolated, lonely and separated. Even his three friends had fallen asleep. Does it get worse than that? No wonder He prays, “Father, let this cup pass...” The next words he speaks proves that He wasn’t alone after all. “Father, not as I will, but as you will.”

How many times do you find yourself in some sort of quandary, and you want to put it into the Lord’s hands. And yet, as hard as you will it, you can’t quite let go. When I hear Jesus speaking those words to His Father, not only can I see the possibility of trusting the Father, but I realize – for me, anyway – that Jesus will do the trusting for me.

For years you have heard me quote Father John Fuellenbach’s personal Creed:

I am loved unconditionally,
I am forgiven completely,
I am never alone.”

At a meeting with my spiritual director last week, he encouraged me to think about that Creed and turn it over in my mind. Eventually, what came out was:

I love you unconditionally.
I forgive you completely.
I will never leave you alone.

Active voice makes a difference, doesn’t it?
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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