“We can understand Lent…we devote ourselves to penance, compassion and mortification, but how lax we are during the days that follow our sorrow. We do not even know how to rejoice…The day is coming when the Spirit of Truth will breathe upon us, and we do not joyfully await it.”
Louis Evely invites us to prepare for Pentecost by walking The Stations of Joy, meditations on the apparitions of Jesus to his disciples. With great tenderness, patience and affection, Jesus attempted “to awaken his apostles to his joy, to convince them of his resurrection, to transform their sorrows into joy.” The risen Jesus had to “un-set” their minds, open and rekindle their hearts, despite the fact that they barely recognized him.
Mary Magdalene thought that Jesus was the gardener because he had taken on his glorified form. It was only when he called her “Mary” that her heart knew him. He sent her to alert the apostles. “When God revealed himself, he tore every veil…he dazzled, he amazed…” Mary, the patroness of contemplatives was asked to leave her comfort zone and become the apostle to the apostles.
During each station, Jesus had to break through mind-sets and prejudices that prevented the acceptance of his death and eventual ascension, not as losses, but as reasons for hope and joy. The Disciples of Emmaus marveled at his hopeful words, but they couldn’t recognize him until the intimacy of the table and the breaking of the bread. They spontaneously shared the good news with the apostles.
Peter, filled with guilt, was ready to return to fishing, to walk away from his calling. He recognized Jesus preparing breakfast. He jumped into the water to meet Jesus and admitted his love. Forgiven, Peter accepted his vocation as the “fisher of men.”
Thomas doubted, standing in for the skeptics among us, in order to convince us of our reasons for joy. Why do we doubt? Why do we decline the invitation to joy?
Paul never doubted. As Saul, he viewed Jesus as an “absurd imposter,” a heretic. As a Pharisee, he scrupulously observed every aspect of the law, yet upon his conversion, he proved the most innovative and energetic of the apostles. He had seen Jesus and his disciples as an evil, until Jesus personally intervened, sending Paul to embrace the Gentiles, including us.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, mother of the apostles, our mother, mother of sorrows but also mother most joyful, knew that in spite of everything there was, and she was, a cause for our joy.
The Ascension: Jesus disappeared; he did not depart from us. He can be seen through the eyes of faith. Those who see him through faith, receive joy. Joy is a measure of faith. Joy leads us to the apostolate.
Let Louis Evely help you prepare for Pentecost. Each page of this short book will provoke the reader with Evely’s unique perspectives on the Season of Joy. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, your heart may burn within you. Be joyful. Open yourself to the Holy Spirit.