During the past year or so, The Pink Flamingo has taken to not doing the usual blog pile-on with holidays, etc. One thing I discovered over the years is that there are certain things ‘conservative’ blogs must do, and that includes making sure everyone knows how religious and patriotic you are. When someone needs to do that, repeatedly, they are neither. For some strange reason, this Easter is different. Then again, I think it’s part of the writing process.
The Pink Flamingo has spent several years working on a couple spiritual books. The first is a way too long devotional that may or may not see the light of day. I have a problem with the alleged “christian” author who wrote a magnificent meditation and study on hard times. I based part of the book on her scripture. She’s a very busy person and doesn’t have time to respond to little people who request being able to quote in detail. So, I don’t know where the book is going.
That’s okay. Maybe I need to make it on my own.
I’ve been working on a book of essays since early November. It is obvious the book is timed from Advent to Easter. In many ways, it is almost a commentary on my Christian life – from autumn to spring. I’ve been going through some very hard times the past few years. The hard times have led me to turn them into what I hope will be a book for those who are experiencing problems, and are just pissed with themselves and the world in general. I just know that writing about it, as several regular Pink Flamingo readers, who have been friends and confidants are well aware, has helped me. I hope it will help someone else.
Easter Week in 2012 was a strange one. There was a family moment that has turned into the most wonderful and amazing blessing I have experienced in many, many years. Once again I have learned about the magnificent, perfect sanctity of life. I’ve learned a few other things, along the way that have turned some of my political opinions upside down. I’ve been, for years, extolling the idea that adoption is so perfect. Then, when the situation appeared in my family, I have learned that nothing could be farther from the truth. We so-called pro-life supporters have waxed poetic on giving a baby up for adoption, and getting on with life. Sorry, but I now think, in very many cases, that is wrong.
Live is absolutely precious. I see how my parents, aged and not in the best health, cling to a future. My father is in Stage 4 of Alzheimer’s, but he is in there, fighting. My mother is quite upset because a neighbor of theirs put her husband, who was a little farther along, in a nursing home, and that is that. Our family has made the choice of keeping my father at home. You don’t dump your senior citizen family members, just because they are no longer perfect.
You don’t dump people because they aren’t perfect. You soldier on, dealing with dealing. That’s life. It sometimes sucks.
Then again, it is sometimes quite remarkable.
What I have learned is that we have choices. I know the only way I’ve been able to survive the past three years is through my faith. Thinking about John 3:16, I suspect if I were intellectual enough, I could go and begin to wax poetic on man’s quest for eternal life. It is rather fascinating. I’m not too worried about that. What truly sustains me is the peace I find through Christ. I think, this day and age, peace is a very big deal.
The other night, I was watching yet another video of Dmitri Hvorostovsky that someone uploaded. Having not bothered to truly look at the video other than at him, and his extraordinary voice, I noticed the presentation along with the song, Vivere.
Vivere is Italian for life, living, surviving. Look at the beginning and the end of the piece and it says more about the sanctity of life than all the annoying political protests, and repulsive anti-abortion billboards ever could.
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!
But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!
Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!
It should also be noted that the first person the Risen Christ appeared to was a woman, a fallen woman, a former prostitute, the lowest of the low. He appeared first, not before the high and mighty, not before the men who had followed him and ran away, in fear, but before a woman who had been a prostitute.
A Christian is someone who has experienced the Risen Christ. The world’s very first Christian was a woman. In his first Easter Homily, the new pope has rattled a few chains, once again recognizing the role of women in our faith. On Maundy Thursday, when he washed and kissed the feet of a young Muslim women, he sent shock-waves throughout the traditional church. Not only did a pope, for the first time, equate women with men on Maundy Thursday, but by embracing the young Muslim woman, he sent a powerful message to the Islamic world – that women were the equal of men.
“…Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.
2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!…”
I think that says it all.