04 April 2010

Dark clouds and the rise of our only hope

Standing through the cloister window that looks south out over the Coliseum this morning, I watch a long line of dark clouds move over the city.   The most prominent angels of the Angelicum--the squawky sea-gulls--squabble over nesting rights and a few church bells ring out to wake those still asleep.

Clouds over Rome on the Resurrection of the Lord.  How fitting.  Bickering birds instead of angel's choirs.  Perfect.  For a few, quick moments I felt a cold, weighty melancholy squeeze my Easter joy. Would today be a day to get through, a day to merely endure with fingers crossed?  

The WeatherBug reports that it will rain.  Great.

At Mass this morning, I sit in my accustomed place.  Near the altar and across from a huge Renaissance-style fresco of Christ leaving the tomb.  During moments of silence, I look up at the triumphant Lord and back down at his emptied grave.  Some of the people in the fresco--the Mary's, soldiers, servants, angels--watch him rise.  Some with joy.  Some with knowing contemplation.  Some with fear and hatred.

These figures, I decide, represent quite nicely the diversity of contemporary reactions to the Resurrection.  Some greet Easter with joy; some with expectant silence; others with fear and loathing.  For repentant sinners, the Resurrection means life everlasting.  Joy comes naturally.  For those who see the Gospel as an unwelcomed restraint on their passions, their choices, the Resurrection is a unmitigated disaster.  Now, because Christ is risen, their choices have consequences beyond this impermanent world.  That they fear this revelation is their own choice.

I hear bells ringing all over the city.  The rain keeps the bickering birds under cover.  In churches here in Rome and the world over, faithful Christians are gathering despite the fear the world hopes to spark in their hearts.  Fear is easy.  Hope is hard.

Christ is risen.  The only hope for creation is risen.  He is risen indeed!

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  1. A joyful and blessed and fruitful Easter season for you and your loved ones, I pray, Father...

  2. I didn't know that about the pronunciation of "forte". I have always pronounced it in the Italian manner when referring to a strength and will probably continue to do so as I can envisage lots of arguments should I pronounce it correctly.

  3. I was drawn to your article by the title, "Hope For Creation." Of course our only hope is in the risen Lord and the fact that He is risen gives us our Hope. Creation is indeed in a perilous place. A Doctor named Matthew Sleeth has written a book called "Serve God, Save the Planet" based on his experiences as an ER physician -- seeing the way in which our actions are killing the Planet and ourselves. He describes steps that he has taken to live a more sustainable life and how his own family sacrificed the American Dream to follow God's calling. His wife, Nancy Sleeth, has written a book called "Go Green, Save Green" to show how to save on energy costs and apply those savings for mission work. Now they
    are doing a world-wide, all church, simulcast called HOPE FOR CREATION
    about our role in Creation Care. All you need to participate is a laptop. Hundreds of congregations from all over the world are on board to join in this discussion. To learn more go to: