As we are in the season of Easter and the mystery of the Resurrection, I couldn’t but write on this theme.
Marion Smith gave us a wonderful reflection during lent and outlined the various critical questions to think over, including Jesus’ sojourn into the wilderness.
Having given this much thought, I also reflected on the lead-up to the crucifixion. After the last supper, Jesus knowing his fate, prays in the garden of Gethsemane. He is then betrayed and abandoned by his friends. Eventually, he is handed over to circumstances that leave him at the mercy of those wanting him crucified.
During my reflections, I suddenly realised that it was a year since I received the news about my redundancy. After twelve years of service, not only to an organisation but to the Dublin Archdiocese, it was a devastating blow. My reflections the clicked together, the pascal path suffered by Jesus, is our path too.
Attentiveness to a season of desolation with all its loss and despair, is part of God’s purgative process, drawing us closer in pure love by withdrawing from us attachments of any kind, inner and outer. “God’s path (is) often through the path of stripping and self-emptying.”
Having being told about my redundancy, I experienced a kaleidoscope of emotions some of which were to be expected such as loss and anger but others came as a surprise such as betrayal and a loss of identity. So, I spent time journaling in an effort to purge my heart of the intensity of emotion. I then allowed myself to sit in silence knowing that it is “true love through silence only one can hear.”
Knowing that there is always a development task hidden within a season of desolation, I chose to be proactive. Putting on the whole armour of Christ, as I thought, when in fact it was really me dressed up as Xena the princess warrior!
One Sunday driving over to Ignite, I got stuck behind the slowest driver one could possibly meet, taking twenty-five minutes to get to the East Wall road and that’s when I had my meltdown. I turned and came home.
I realised that the journey to Ignite that morning, symbolised my path and I had NO control over my circumstances, no matter what I did. My Xena efforts eventually gave way. I sobbed with both defeat and a wholehearted confession that I could do no more.
While upset, I could see deep within in my heart all my self-directed efforts to do the right thing, but this motivation wasn’t Grace-led but Marie-led. I fundamentally was too proud to trust and too fearful not to be proactive. Like the guys walking to Emmaus, I too wanted to go in the opposite direction away from Jerusalem, the site of Crucifixion. And so, I surrendered, broken, defeated and strangely SAFE!
I was reminded that “It’s about listening to what is happening in the “taking hold” before we can move into the letting go.” Translated, an acrobat waits to grab hold of the stick before leaping. Through this process I was led to my surrender. You see “it is the imperial ego that has to go and only powerlessness can do the job correctly.”
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). In the Message version, the word “Way” is translated as “Road”. On reading this passage, I found myself saying “Well if this ‘Road’ is where Jesus is, bring it on!” I found myself embracing my path and my circumstances. The more I gave thanks and gratitude, the more I transcended them.
This personal resurrection happens to coincide with Easter and since embracing this “Road”
the study over the past 3.5 years is suddenly yielding fruit. I am now finding I am having to manage a wave of unexpected invitations for work. My motivation is now powered by Grace and I am empowered by this wonderful Resurrection, not saved from difficulties, but resurrected and transformed because of them.
 Maureen Conroy, The Discerning Heart: Discovering a Personal God, (Chicago: Loyola Press), 125.
 Rumi, The Masnavi – Book 1, (Oxford: University Press, 2004,) 11.
 Geraldine Holton, Class Notes on “Advent Waiting”, Professional Diploma in Soul-Centred Practice:
Psycho-Spiritual Training for Soul-Centred Accompaniment &Spiritual Guidance, (Tullyallen: An Croi
 Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, (Franciscan Media: Cincinnati, Ohio, 2011), p.4