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Saint Hugh's Easter Message

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To the Community at St. Hugh's at Parkminster, recorded in A Spirit Of Place: Carthusian Reflections

Easter Message from the Prior of Parkminister. Easter Sunday 1993.
 
God's Life In Our Mortal Veins

For some reason my mind keeps coming back to the Eucharist these days.

It is after all, the sacrament of the Paschal Mystery, its symbolic
representation. Through this simple rite, Jesus tried top make his
disciples grasp the meaning of what was to happen
It is so simple and so profound. Jesus knows he is about to die. He
gathers His disciples about him, and eats with them, Judas included,
remember; his presence is essential: Jesus will give His life for him
perhaps in a special way. Christ's lonely journey into the ultimate
stripping of death concerns them all, even to their weakness and their
sin.

He will not leave them, he will be with them as a leaven of healing
and spirit-life. Let us listen to the terse narrative in the second
Eucharistic Prayer:

Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, he
took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his
disciples, and said: "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my
body which will be given up for you."

When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and
praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: "Take this, all of
you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the
new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all men
so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me."

This is the meaning of my sacrifice, Jesus is saying, and this is the
way you must follow if you are to love as I have loved, if you wish to
enter into the life of the resurrection. Let us look at things very
simply form this angle today, enumerating some of the qualities of
life and love of which Christ gives us here the example. What are they?

Liberty; with conscious freedom to give our life, the heart's choice
beyond all exterior or interior constraint.

Total gift: not this or that, but our life itself, all we have, be it a widow's mite.

Grateful acceptance: of our humanity and of all creation in a spirit of thanksgiving and of praise. We take the bread and wine that
symbolizes them and we give thanks.
Sharing we break the bread and we give it: the bread of our human lives, our hearts, our thoughts, our time, our dreams, our disappointments, our pin our faults, our hopes. Take, eat, this is my
body.

Solidarity: This is my body given up for you. Christ took His place
among us, as it were, beside us. He did not look down upon us form a
position of invulnerable superiority. He accepted us, each and all as
we are in truth, and tied His lot to ours. So doing he could apply the
healing gift of the Spirit to our very real wounds from within and
restore us to god's friendship. `This is the cup of my blood, the
blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and
for all, so that sins may be forgiven.' will come again.

In this pardon, form this covenant, the Church and our community are
born. Only in shared pardon and communion with Christ can it continue
to exist. In practice, this is a hard saying: it is not easy to accept
a real solidarity with each and every one of my brothers, not only
with the amenable, the gifted and the well-disposed towards me. But
also with the less agreeable, the less gifted, and the less
well-disposed, even hostile. Or I accept only those parts of their
personalities that I approve of, as if a person could be divided.

It is hard not to exclude from our hearts through arrogance and
defensiveness or judgement. We religious are far too prone to sit in
judgment on others, even though we know in our hearts that we are no better ourselves. Let us learn of Christ to judge no one, to exclude
no one, to accept as a precious gift each of our brothers and sisters.

This is not `charity', it is their right in Christ. We must learn to
suffer, not only from them, as may sometimes happen, but with them; to sustain them by our pardon, to carry them in our heart's prayer; to
help them carry their own cross, from which they are the first to
suffer, rather than pharisaically

To condemn their weaknesses. Community implies sacrifice, it is
founded in the cup of Christ's blood. Remember this when you drink of
this chalice. The General Chapter will be studying the role of the
community in formation. Beyond any exterior things, it lies, or so it
seems to me, in this real solidarity in Christ's love. All the rest
will follow.

And it is thus that we will know that we are risen in Christ, by the
Spirit that has been poured out in our hearts, God's Life in our
mortal veins. Already we are risen in Christ: I a hidden way, the
eternal realities are present. Sacramentally we see them and in faith
we try to live them. As in Christ's humanity and divinity was truly
present in us, here and now to be lived, but under the veil of our
humanity, shining obscurely through, often, in a strange way, through
the wounds of our hearts.

We come back full circle to the image of Christ crucified, but now
transfigured. Bearing the crown of His triumph, as the eastern Fathers
loved to portray Him.

I wish you the fullness of joy this day.

Carthusian Reflections

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