This Day I Have Begotten You

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
May 5, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings again draw our hearts to the power of the Resurrection to transform our lives.

The passage from Acts gives us the first half of Paul’s sermon in Pisidian Antioch, to a gathering of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul, who did not know Christ before the Resurrection, calls on the witness of the original disciples who shared earthly ministry with Jesus:

For even though (the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders) 
found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have Jesus put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. 
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. 
These are now his witnesses before the people.

Acts 13:28-31

These witnesses attest to the primordial element of our faith:

Jesus Christ conquered death
and, in doing so,
gave all of us
the gift of eternal life in him.

This amazing truth is not something outside or distant from us. This truth is the core of our lives in faith. By believing it, remembering it, calling its dynamism into our dailyness, we are endowed with the power of God to live beyond death even in the midst of it.

In the life of my religious community, spring is always a time of Jubilee – a time to acclaim God’s rejuvenation of nature and life.

Just after Easter, we capture Alleluia grace to celebrate our sisters and their decades of fidelity. These Silver, Golden and Diamond years unfold in a perpetual wave from the time of Catherine McAuley. At Jubilee, we bathe in their awesome and unwordable grace. Last Friday evening, we held this year’s celebration, one bursting with the sentiments of “L’chiam” – To Life!

But just on that same Friday afternoon, one of our venerable sisters had died after living over 70 years in Mercy. I know the contrasting emotions struck many of us in our jubilant chapel. These feelings became even more evident as we read the back cover of our program naming all those Jubilarians who had preceded us to heaven.

Will we all meet in heaven?

O what joy even to think of it.

Catherine McAuley: Letter to Teresa White February 3, 1841

And that, my dear friends, is the key word: HEAVEN – another word for the eternal life given us in the Resurrected Christ. We don’t always realize it but, through Easter grace, we are living in heaven right now. Death, transformed forever in Jesus, is the unmasking which allows our full realization.

This is what Jesus conveyed to his disciples in today’s Gospel. Don’t be afrain of anything – not even death. I am already completely with you.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”

John 14:1-4

In Greek, the phrase for “do not be troubled” ( ταρασσεσθω – tar-as’-so) pertains particularly to the dread of death natural to the human condition. This is the fear that Jesus wishes to alleviate for his disciples, especially as he moves into the Paschal event.

He wishes to soothe that fear in us as well. We have the inifinite assurance of eternal life. When we face death, the loss of friends, or the overwhelming weight of the passing years, we can reach through any heaviness to that Resurrecting Light. By the life-giving invitation of Christ, we – and all whom we ever love – are already residents in the mansion of God.

Alleluia – Jubilate

The Jubilarian celebrants, most in the video above, are:

75 years: Sister Mary Jude DiSciascio, Sister Mary Klock, Sister Eileen Trinity

70 years: Sister Maryann Burgoyne, Sister Maria Madonna Johnson, Sister Joanne McIlhenney, Sister Rosemary Powers

60 years: Sister Sara Anne Condart, Sister Maureen Crissy, Sister Georgia Greene, Sister LaVerne Marie King, Sister Patricia Leipold, Sister Dorothea Maholland, Sister Mary Mulholland, Sister Beverly Palumbo, Sister Benvinda Ann Pereira, Sister Elaine Schaeffer, Sister Monica Sheehy, Sister Bonita Marie Smith, Sister Renee Yann

50 Golden Years: Maureen Roe, Terry Saetta, Susan Walsh and Regina Ward.

Poetry: Near Sunset on the Shore – Renee Yann, RSM

Four o’clock, life’s waning autumn afternoon;
daylight spent against the salted sea.
Tide, this moment, turns to imperceptible ebb.
Evening imagines its own midnight, indigo.

Same shore; same horizon. Only
sky, drunk deep, betrays change.
Jigger of sunset, rubied brandy,
introduced to unintoxicated day.

Now come the memories, wave
upon wave, inviting immersion. Now come
the lingering hopes, vortex of longing for
all that has or might have been loved.

Now in near-dusk, understanding,
feeble at first, then determined.
Can so little really have mattered?
Can the one truth simply have been

riveted presence, moment by moment,
to pain and to joy; fascination, ennui?
Has Sacred Fire smoldered so long
In such innocent ashes?

The question, or is it the answer, hovers and stills.
Sweet, purple evening rises like smoke from the embers
Of the inessential and shorn. Once, some distant morning,
hearts were set to this moment in brilliant, unproven vows.

The ocean of years, in hypnotic cadence,
Allowed, then rescinded, distraction.
Now, under its waves, tenacious and constant,
deep diving down in the luminous darkness of God.

Music: Divine Mystery – Heather Houston (lyrices below)

Oh I am opening up for a dance with Divine Mystery
Oh I am trusting the path that’s unfolding before me with ease

Just let go now, trust the flow
Just let go now, then you’ll know

Right on time now, I’ve arrived
Right on time now, I’m aligned

5 thoughts on “This Day I Have Begotten You

  1. Pat Murphy, CSJ

    Belated Congratulations on your 60th Jubilee, Renee! Selfishly, I pray that your health remains strong so that your Lavish Mercy posts will continue. May God continue to inspire you to see deeply into the mysteries of our lives. Thank you!


  2. Lucille Hillerman

    Wonderful reflection! Oh my! How absolutely lovely! Thank you for sharing the Jubilee procession. I wish I could have been there. You remain in my daily prayers.❤️🙏


  3. Congratulations to you and all the sisters on your jubilees -what a wonderful video of the procession of you all celebrating your life lived in mercy! God bless you all!
    P.S. I loved seeing the chapel at Merion again!

    Liked by 1 person

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