Happy Easter!!  There are so many wonderful wishes flooding the internet this morning and it makes my spirit spring with joy to see them…  “Happy Easter”, the world cries out!!  Lent and then the Paschal Triduum has taken me deeper into the heart of my soul than I have ever been.  For this, I am more than grateful and this morning, am left feeling both inspired and contented.  I don’t know how to piece all of this together for my readers.  Certainly, my thoughts will be in no specific chronological order…that’s why I thought I’d write a wee bit about a symbol…here or there…perhaps a prayer or a reading or an image.  This is nothing like what we experience through the mystery of our faith journey… THAT journey is neatly organized through the liturgical calendar and the STORY of our faith.  But for me and for the purpose of this blog, I am going to post snippets of wondrous moments that happened, this year, for me.

Abraham's Willingness to Give His Son, Isaac

When we left the Easter Vigil last evening, my youngest daughter made mention that the most powerful reading for her was the reading about Abraham and his offering of his son, Isaac.  She said, “Can you imagine a world where every single person lived the conviction of Abraham, in everything they did.  What would that world look like?”  I was inspired by her thought.  I’ve been thinking about that all morning. 

This reading has also baffled me…more, after I watched the Passion of Christ in 2004.  First of all, I kept seeing the pain of the Father, giving his own Son…for the sake of each of us.  Second of all, I thought about Mary and the torment she must have felt at the pain of her Son.  And so, when I hear the story of Abraham, I see it as a huge Old Testament foretelling of the Passion of our Lord.  I rarely hear the story without having tears.

So…while it IS Easter, and today we celebrate the Resurrection, a huge part of my gratitude and the reason I am so inspired today, is because of God’s call…the one to draw nearer to him…to grow in my knowledge and understanding…and to celebrate his promise.  God will provide for all ages. 

First Reading:  Genesis 22:1-18

The Will of God

1 It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

He said, “Here I am.”

2 He said, “Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.”

3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off. 5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, “My father?”

He said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

8 Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they both went together. 9 They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.

11 The angel  called to him out of the sky, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

He said, “Here I am.”

12 He said, “Don’t lay your hand on the boy, neither do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place God Will Provide. As it is said to this day, “On God’s mountain, it will be provided.”

15 The angel of God called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, 16 and said, “I have sworn by myself, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies. 18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

The Jesse Tree: Tradition and Story

Our Jesse Tree: St. Albert the Great Parish

So many years ago, my art and religion students helped me make a set of symbols for our Jesse Tree at our parish church.  All of this time later, it warms my heart to see the symbols gradually added to the bare tree throughout Advent.  I love that a history is created through our art and that these rituals each year keep us in touch with our story.  I also enjoy that in the photograph we can see a titch of the Easter Candle and the upper section to the baptismal font.  Awesome!

The story of the Jesse Tree has its beginnings with the old Testament and I will include some links and a bit of the context here.  I am hoping to begin my own set of Jesse Tree ornaments for next year and I particularly admire these.

Jesse Tree along side Illuminated Text

Day 24: Star – God’s call to us to follow the Light John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.