Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Practice your chanting. Attend practice for the Triduum liturgies. Prepare the Gospel proclamation for Easter Sunday and the Passion for Good Friday. Come up with a homily for Good Friday Morning Prayer. Run the practice for Easter Vigil. Study the Vigil notes. Be Master of Ceremonies at the Easter Vigil. These were just some of the thoughts and responsibilities swirling around in my head during the four days from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. For the clergy at St. Magdalen's, these are days of non-stop activity.
As I write this, it is the day after Easter, Monday the 1st of April. To say that the these four days at St. Magdalen's have been busy would be like saying that Francis has made an impression in his first few weeks as our Pope! At the end of masses yesterday, I came home and slept for almost three hours... and when I went to bed last night, I was still tired! Then this afternoon, I was reminded...I have to write the Bulletin letter. My brain screamed out to me: you need rest!
But then I thought that it could be worse. I could be tired from grief over the loss of a loved one or from physical disease of some sort. But what I am experiencing is... a "good tired."
There is such a thing as a "good tired" - especially when our exertions are for the glory of God or performed out of love. Can you imagine how emotionally and physically drained Mary must have been after watching her son die a humiliating death on a cross? Yet her faith never tired. Try and imagine what she was feeling and experiencing from the time He was placed in the tomb until Easter morning. Then once Jesus was raised, imagine Mary's emotions when she saw him for the first time since his death. She would have been totally spent from all of this...but it would have been a good tired.
Or how about the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus, whom they do not recognize, joins them and proceeds to engage them in conversation about all the Scripture passages that have to do with Him. Once they finally realize who He is - in the breaking of the bread - they returned to Jerusalem at once to tell the other disciples the wonderful news that Jesus was risen. Now the exact location of Emmaus is in some dispute by scripture scholars, but it is at least seven miles from Jerusalem. Having made that round trip on foot in one day...they must have been dead on their feet. But again, a good tired.
I think of Mother Teresa in more recent times and her work with the poor and destitute. That had to have been some of the most exhausting and frustrating work imaginable. And there was (and is) no end to the number of people in need. Yet in her calm and unflappable manner, she once said: "I picked up one person - maybe if I didn't pick up that one person I wouldn't have picked up the others. The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if we don't put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less." A good tired. My tiredness is nothing compared to these examples - examples of tiredness born of excruciating sorrow, extreme excitement or striving against impossible odds, all overcome through faith in God, His love, and His Divine Mercy. St. Gregory of Narek prayed: "It is not rest that I seek, but it is the face of him who offers rest that I seek in prayer."
My sisters and brothers, the season of Lent that just ended may well have left us exhausted. If that was from our efforts to prepare properly for Easter, then bravo! It was a good tired. Now we can rest...rest in the risen Christ. it is the rest that truly refreshes...for all eternity.
Peace (and rest) in the Risen Lord,