WE HAVE entered the last Advent of the century and the millennium!If the fearful pundits, secular and religious both, are right and the world will soon end then truly this writing is the ultimate futility!
Returning to the original notes I took a moment to reflect on the powerful words [Mt.26.40; Mk.14:34; Jn.18:1; Lk.22:46; Jn.14:31] of Jesus the night of the penultimate vigil of prayer.
As I write these lines out by hand in the middle of the night, this Holy Thursday morning, when such tremendous reality unfolds, I stand in awe before the holy elasticity of time, history, space, as lived reality experienced by those who live, move, have their being permeated by the Sacrament of Baptism, animated by the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist!
My heart has come to understand the angel given to Jesus in the Garden of Olives, [Lk.22:43] IS the Angel of Encouragement…encouragement that in my life I be like the olive and allowed myself to be torn from the tree of my self-existence, pressed into the chalice of oneness with Him, crushed with His Cross that the oil of my being be poured out as love’s salve in service to my brothers and sisters.
To keep vigil during the night is an ancient tradition in the life of the Church and one I am moved to keep – from time to time.
This vigil I struggle with the mystery of time…waste too much time writing about time.
NOW, on sabbatical, these many months later, much time having elapsed, I cut severely those original notes, shamed at the amount of intellectual pertinence I spent time putting into words on paper.
It is now Holy Saturday and I have kept vigil two nights in a row.
Yesterday was NOT a day for words.
Nor questions as kneeling before the Cross THE Answer to all possible questions, is contemplated.
Yesterday was a day to stand outside the brokenness of ordinary time in utter silence, bowed low to the ground before the crucified One, being bathed in His Blood and drawn by that rushing river of mercy into His own time.
It is to be immersed in the timeliness and timelessness of Unconditional Love.
Now we prepare for the essential vigil of all vigils: the Easter Vigil…to keep watch before the tomb knowing in the unknowing what shall happen has happened!
Time is indeed fulfilled by the very fact God, in the Incarnation, came down into human history….man rises from the earth and returns to it [Gn.3:19]: this is an immediately evident fact. Yet in man there is an irrepressible longing to live forever…Christian Revelation excludes reincarnation, and speaks of a fulfillment which man is called to achieve in the course of a single earthly existence…..through a sincere gift of self, a gift which is made possible only through his encounter with God. It is in God that man finds his full self-realization: this is the truth revealed by Christ. Man fulfills himself in God, who comes to meet him through His Eternal Son. Thanks to God’s coming on earth, human time, which began at Creation, has reached its fullness. “The fullness of time” is in fact eternity, indeed, it is the One who is eternal, God Himself. Thus, to enter into “the fullness of time” means to reach the end of time and to transcend its limits, in order to find time’s fulfillment in the eternity of God.
In Christianity time has a fundamental importance……In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, time becomes a dimension of God…..From this relationship of God with time there arises the duty to sanctify time……..In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil the celebrant as he blesses the candle which symbolizes the risen Christ, proclaims: “ Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to Him, and all the ages, to Him be glory and power through every age for ever.”….The meaning of this rite is clear: It emphasizes the fact that Christ is the Lord of time…The solar year is thus permeated by the liturgical year, which in a certain way reproduces the whole mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, beginning from the first Sunday of Advent and ending on the solemnity of Christ the King, Lord of the Universe and Lord of History. Every Sunday commemorates the day of the Lord’s Resurrection.[ax]