All time - now and yet to come

“All time belongs to Christ, and all the ages.”

That is a phrase used in the Catholic ritual of blessing of the Easter Candle. Since public celebration at Easter Vigil Mass was not possible, due to public health crisis, I didn’t solemnly proclaim it.

But I am relying upon it for the days of this Easter Season, for personal trust in the Eternal God. For the ritual word ‘ages’ I have been praying about ‘seasons’ and ‘situations.’

“How long, O Lord” from Psalm 13, is a Lenten season lament. It seems to me, that our Lenten suffering has been lasting much longer than the usual forty days.

So, I have been looking to the saints.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was greeted by the Angel Gabriel, “Hail, favored one, the Lord is with you.” She was surprised by events beyond her control, and adjusted with love. Her initial fears subsided, and she conceived the Word. When the expected place for the baby’s delivery was foiled, she acted in faith with Joseph. As Herod threatened their lives, she accepted his protection and dwelt in a foreign land for the first years of her baby’s life. When Jesus was 12, they were shocked at his staying 3 more days in the temple. In so many ways, Mary shows us how to trust in God’s direction, and to adjust for the needs of the day.

St. Augustine (+430) said Christian people are ones of suffering in this world, and confidence in the Risen Lord’s power. “Because there are these two periods of time — the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy — we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after. The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess. This is why we keep the first season with fasting and prayer; but (in Eastertime) we devote (ourselves) to praise. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing.”

St. Leo the Great (+461) gave our Catholic vision of the public prayer, through sacramental connections. “Our Redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because sight has been replaced by a doctrine whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high. This faith was increased by the Lord’s ascension and strengthened by the gift of the Spirit.”

This coming Sunday in the Christian calendar is Pentecost. In the Upper Room, the Holy Spirit rushed upon the disciples and Mary, freeing them from fear, convincing them of Life, and emboldening them to proclaim it in the Temple.

I trust that the sacraments celebrated will connect us with God’s eternal goodness. I draw on past graceful lessons, for confidence in the midst of our current troubles.

The solemn prayer I was to say on Easter Vigil with the candle concludes: “May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.”

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