Paschal Mystery

At the shrine of Blessed Nicolas Bunkerd Kitbamrung in Sampran, ThailandOne of my favourite tags on this blog is changing sadness into joy. It’s always too easy to think that Christianity is about these rules and this patience and this detachment and these sufferings and these commands – and to stop there. But while all of those things find their place in Christianity, they find their place in a story of sadness being changed into joy, or sorrow being changed into happiness, or this world’s weight being lifted to leave us with an eternal weight of glory.

And so comes along the Paschal Triduum and Easter to remind us of this once again. The Paschal Mystery is the Christian mystery. Just as in Baptism we are buried with Christ and born to new life, so in each Paschal Triduum we enter into the sorrow of the Cross and see Christ’s triumph.

Sadness is changed into joy. Sorrow is changed into happiness. This world’s weight is lifted to leave us with an eternal weight of glory.

We have to enter into this mystery more and more, and our overly rational explanations of it fail. God’s gifts have to take greater precedence. Our ways, while not annihilated, must find out by experience how small they are compared to God’s manner of taking sadness, or even immersing us in sadness, to change it into joy. But in the end, the Paschal mystery remains: initiated into the mystery in the Upper Room, passing through the terrors of Gethsemane, to the way of the Cross, to the Crucifixion itself, to the silence of Holy Saturday, and blossoming forth in the glorious, joyful morning of Easter itself.


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