Pray for me.. that I may make known the mystery of the Gospel. (Ephesians 6:19)
Every year we celebrate the greatest of all Christian mysteries—the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. What does the work “mystery” convey to us? Does it mean that these events in the life of Jesus are out of our realm of experience? Or does it bring to mind the novels of John Le Carré and others?
It must be admitted that when we speak of mysteries in Jesus’ life, it does seem to consign His life and being to the realm of the supernatural—remote and removed from us. When we hear the expression, “It’s a mystery to me!” it usually refers to what is unknown to us, which might be either frightening or exciting depending on how we view it. More often it simply means we do not or cannot understand something. Is it important to experience mystery in order to make it more tangible and real for us?
The whole question may be a puzzle until we reflect on the mysteries we find in the natural order. There are those moments in spring when we see fragile but sturdy shoots of green poking their heads up through the hard earth or even through patches of snow. There are news reports of people defying instincts of self-preservation in order to save others from burning buildings or raging waters. There is the unfathomable mystery that each human person is. And there are the times when we have been loved into becoming our best selves by someone when we least expected it or when we felt least deserving of it. Indeed, these things make us realize there is something mysterious even in the natural realm. They can help us to better understand the great love behind the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Each year when we celebrate these mysteries, may we increasingly enter into them and experience them more tangibly so that, with increased awareness, we are able to live them out more vibrantly when they occur in our own lives.
Jesus, be with us as we live out our daily mysteries!
—Sister Mary E. Penrose, OSB
|Sister Mary E. Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.|