March 23, 2016: Decorating for Easter

~by Louis Templeman

From my pew I gazed at the platform and altar where the deacons assist and the priest celebrates Mass. Behind and to the side of the celebrant blazed a riot of colors. A queue of mums and Easter lilies paraded up the A-frame, stair-step wall behind the altar and wreathed the tabernacle. In fact nearly one hundred well-appointed floral arrays and blooms ran along the steps of the raised platform, framing the corners of the altar, the steps and wall behind the platform.

Climaxing at the apex of this colorful display hung a monochrome six foot crucifix: a symbol of betrayal; the torture and execution of God. How strange.

Yet, this stark figure of the execution of God the Hero, this violent injustice against the innocent has become a symbol not of death and failure but of redemption and love. A strange paradox that the crowning point of this display of flowers is a crucifixion, the price of love that preceded resurrection and communion with God.

Such paradox and mystery is rooted at the heart of our ancient faith. Such an aching lies in the hearts of our daily lives. The Rosary closes with references to our life experience as our “veil of tears” and “this our exile.” Life has its woes. And our faith encompasses this. Sorrow and difficulty are integral pathways to the experience of God’s love. As we think of Jesus this Easter we know we worship one who has suffered and experienced the depth of difficulties and sufferings that is common to our human experience.

And so, the stark emblem of sacrifice surrounded by a proliferation of floral beauty makes gives us both the beauty and the beast. Both are part of the picture. Easter is our annual reminder of the mystery of suffering. No tear is left ungathered by our heavenly Father and all will be overwhelmed, eventually, by the glory of the Resurrection.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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