Living the paschal mystery with hope Print
Cutting Edge
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Cutting Edge by Sr. Margie Lavonis

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ and is the most important feast of the Church.

At Easter we renew our faith and welcome new members into the Church.

It is the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil) that is the high point of the Church year.

Paschal mystery

Easter is the fulfillment of the paschal mystery -- the suffering, death, and rising of Jesus. This mystery is not a one-time historical event. As members of the body of Christ, we live this mystery throughout our lives.

We entered the paschal mystery at baptism. We were baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus. This means that we share in Christ’s suffering, death, and rising throughout our lives.

The paschal mystery assures us that the “pain and dying” we experience in our daily lives ultimately leads to resurrection.

It is our Christian belief that God can and does bring good out of evil and suffering.

Jesus’ life is the greatest example of this. God did not leave Jesus in his pain. God raised him from the dead. Death had no power over him.

Living the paschal mystery

There are many examples of living the paschal mystery.

I think of a young college student friend of mine who was hurt and nearly devastated by the unfaithfulness of her fiancé who was dating other women during their engagement.

She cut off their relationship but didn’t know how she would ever live without him.

Later, she met and fell in love with another young man who was everything a woman could ask for in a husband. They are now happily married and have a growing family.

As she reflects back on her life, she always says that if her first relationship had not failed, they probably never would have met.

Other pain and suffering

Other people have experienced the pain and suffering of being laid off or fired from jobs only to find ones often more fulfilling.

I know a man who gave his heart and soul to a company for 30 years. Later, new owners laid him off. He was crushed and went into a deep depression.

Finally, he decided to go back to school, got his teaching license, and is now a very happy elementary school teacher.

It was something he always wanted to do but did not feel he could adequately raise a family on a teacher’s salary. The death of one job brought him new life in another.

Compassion, understanding

I have also known people whose suffering made them more compassionate and understanding of another’s pain.

There are also those who, as a result of personal tragedies, have taken up causes to create a better world.

One example is the mother whose children were all shot to death on the streets of Chicago. She now dedicates her life to support gun control so other mothers will not have to go through the same pain.

There is also the woman who began the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization as a result of her daughter’s death by a drunk driver.

Good results from bad

Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregations of Holy Cross, was misunderstood and suffered greatly at the hands of bishops and even his own community members when he was trying to get them officially approved by the Church.

From his suffering came four religious congregations whose members now serve around the world.

God’s plan and our hope

When we reflect on our lives, most of us can think of situations where good came out of suffering.

Even though we may not have seen God’s design in the midst of the suffering, our faith and experience was that God did not leave us in our pain.

Like Jesus, God will and does raise us up. This gives us hope, something our world desperately needs at this time.


Sr. Margie Lavonis, a freelance writer, is a Sister of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind.