May 22, 2022
Sister Anne Madeline Brost, OSB shares a reflection on the scripture readings:
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29
The Paschal Candle is still burning for all our prayers saying that Jesus is still with
us. He has not Ascended; the Spirit has not been sent. What were those days like
for the first Christians when Jesus would appear without warning, out of the blue,
and with no earthly hindrances to his being with them?
We have had similar experiences. I know that the Divine is always present, but
how do I experience God in special ways?
I will share some of my recent special experiences or divine moments, and
perhaps that will encourage some of you to remember and share some of yours.
The most recent one was Sister Therese’s sharing of a book by John Donders that
spoke of the Easter Candle. That inspired my beginning of this reflection on the
Another special experience came during The Easter Vigil with the little indoor
campfire and the song This Ancient Love. Here are the words:
Long before the night was born from darkness
Long before the dawn rolled unsteady from fire
Long before She Wrapped her scarlet arm around the hills,
There was Love
This ancient love was born.
I realized and began to know in a deeper way that before Creation of matter and
energy there was the Divine energy: Love.
Before that, at the Holy Thursday service, a person insisted that she have her feet
washed, not just her hands. Her request was graciously met, bringing that
“ancient love” quietly alive in the moment.
Another special experience for me was Sister Mary’s reflection for last Sunday
which helped me to understand the Exultet that is sung during Easter. When I first heard the Exultet in English years ago, I questioned the reasons for rejoicing. Now I realize that I rejoice because Christ is risen, but I can’t rejoice for the reasons given in the Exultet: “For Christ has ransomed us with his blood and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father.” And “O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer.” Now my reasons for rejoicing are becoming clearer.
Most likely the author of the Exultet had no notion of the Evolution of the
Cosmos. He attributed the Incarnation, the Divine becoming human, to our poor
behavior: “Adam’s sin.” Now, after all my years of thinking, reading, and praying,
and with the help of Sister Mary’s reflection last week, I have a new
understanding of the Exultet.
In the Gospel of John 13:30-32, after Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, these
words follow: “It was night. Once Judas had left, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of
Man glorified and God is glorified in him.’”
In accepting his death, Jesus the Son of God enters totally into the fullness of the
Cosmos, into the life, suffering, and death of all Creation. This is how God is
glorified. And in his death, God “redeems” us, and gives meaning to our pain,
suffering, and death.
I rejoice because I finally realize that there is no need for “reconciliation” between
God and humanity because we are always One. We were never perfect and then
sinned. We are evolving, learning what Love means. I have a long way to go, but I
have begun to see how I have wrongly accepted and rejoiced over violence in the
Hebrew Scriptures, in our country’s wars, in winning an argument, or in winning a
Love is a Mystery. Will you share your “special experience” of the Divine’s
appearance without warning?
The rubrics for the mass at the celebration of the Ascension are that the Paschal
Candle is snuffed out at the end of the reading of the Gospel. Jesus has left the
planet. But we have the advantage over the first disciples: we do not need to wait
for the Spirit. She is here.