Our THANKS to our dear friend, Fr. Fred Adamson, for celebrating Holy Week and Easter with us!!!

There is something in the human heart that rejoices in solemnity – the pomp and circumstance that properly marks certain liturgical feasts and life-moments.  Simultaneously, there is also something in the human heart that rejoices when such solemnity is visited by a subtle ‘humanness’ that makes it all the more approachable.  One without the other can be either too intimidating or, on the other hand, too mundane.

Our BLAZING Easter fire!

Here at Our Lady of Solitude the Lord seems to always strike a balance of the two.  Take our Easter Vigil Mass for instance, which we celebrated at our in-house Chapel (the main Church is not being used until it is dedicated on May 7th).  Midway through the awesome Liturgy of the Word that recounts so eloquently salvation history, the fire alarm started blaring like a fire alarm has never blared before!  To add to the drama, the dogs started howling like westies have never howled before!  When the fiasco finally quieted down, we all just smiled…and the glorious celebration of Mass continued.

Here is another example to illustrate my point: we are preparing for Mercy Sunday next week, right?  Praying the Novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy in preparation always brings me great consolation and peace.  So I was devoutly praying my Chaplet when I literally was dive-bombed by two flies  They even resorted to trying to fly up my nose and into my mouth when I took a breath.  (We live near a dairy farm and the fierce battle of the flies goes all summer)  Finally, to keep my sanity, I went into the sacristy and got a fly swatter.  Now I was armed with two weapons: chaplet in one hand and fly-swatter in the other.  I chuckled at the contradiction: praying “have mercy on us and on the whole world” as I mercilessly try to kill the fly that was making my life miserable.  Yes, the humanness of it all.

With Our Lord and Fr. Fred after Easter Morning Mass

Earlier this week Sr. Marie Andre gave her annual Holy Thursday exhortation to the community.  In it she spoke of the call to fidelity to God and His Will.  She also spoke of the call to give up our attachment to having things perfect.  There is no such thing this side of the kingdom.  Perhaps another way of saying this is: the call to embrace the ‘humanness’ of situations.  Easier said that done!

This morning I meditated on the passage from St. John’s Gospel where Mary Magdalene weeps near the empty tomb.  Then Our Lord approaches and asks her why she is weeping.  So consumed with her grief, she fails to recognize Him!  “Mary.”  It wasn’t until she heard her name that she realized this was no gardener.  It was the the Master.   There is an awesome painting of this scene (my favorite by far) where Our Lord is depicted wearing a gardener’s hat and holding a shovel.   Yes, the humanness of it all.

Further on St. John’s Gospel recounts another very human scene where Peter says: “I’m going fishing.”  He and six others fish all night and catch nothing.  Then, from a distance they see someone on the shore and hear a voice call to them: “Children, have you caught anything?”  He did not immediately recognize the Lord either.  Perhaps he was distracted by both the fruitless night of fishing and the intense trauma of the days before.  Do you think that, maybe, he was disgruntled by the spectator telling him how to fish?  Or did he begin to recognize the voice and the command, the figure that stood at a distance on shore?  Could it really be the Lord?  True to fashion, Peter follows the Lord’s direction and casts the net over the right side of the boat.  And they pulled in a huge catch of fish.  Coming ashore, they found their fish breakfast already cooking on a charcoal fire.  Perhaps the Lord delights in the humanness of it all too.

Our God became man like us in all things but sin.  He experienced love, joy, hunger, sadness, disappointment, and the manifold imperfections of those He called to be His own.  And in the messiness of human existence, He taught us how to live and love and find Him in the heart of it all, in the humanness of it all.

Fr. Fred’s STUPENDOUS homemade coconut cake! 

In these fifty days of Easter, we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead.  We celebrate the
triumph of life over death.  We celebrate the love strong enough to overcome sin and death and every power that be.  We celebrate the sacrifice that brought our freedom, the ransom that paid our price.  And in the midst of the solemnity of it all, we will meet – again and again – our charming Lord…Who ventures to meet us in the humanness of it all.  There in that very real place of vulnerability and hope, He calls us by name.  We hear Him say: “Children, have you caught anything?”  He is risen as He promised, Alleluia!