The Lord has risen! Alleluia!
As we continue to celebrate our Lord’s triumphant victory over sin and death, let us also contemplate this Easter joy. We part take in the mystery of the resurrection of our Lord, just like how the disciples were called by the Lord to spread the good news of the resurrection. The words of St Pope John Paul II put it beautifully, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song”.
When the Lord showed himself to the disciples, there was no thunderstorm or massive parade to display the magnificent glorious victory of our Lord (or at least not on Earth). Instead, there was this gentleness as if the joy of Easter was almost silent. I would like to describe this expression of silence from the words of Cardinal Robert Sarah in his book on the Power of Silence, “Silence is not an absence. On the contrary, it is the manifestation of a presence, the most intense of all presences”.
Indeed, there was silence after the death of our Lord but the silence does not equate to absence of our Lord but rather, a manifestation of His glory in God our Almighty Father.
With this, I would like to share my experience of my entry into the seminary. I was really eager to start this journey of formation, though still feeling unworthy to be His priest. Prior entering into the seminary, there was this overflowing joy and excitement as though I’m going to a new theme park.
However, on the day of entering, I had mixed feelings of different emotions coming together, like a plate of rojak. There was no thunderstorm or heart fluttering sensation like the way the Lord spoke to me in my prayer or my vocation story.
Without a doubt, the joy of entering the seminary still remains in my heart, feeling extremely privileged to be in the seminary. There was also this sense of fear, which I guess we can never run away from. Everyone will still have his or her own fears one way or another.
For myself, this sense of fear was coming from having to die to myself (my old way of living), the feeling of detachment from my family and friends, dealing with uncertainties and studies, having to detach from worldly desires so as to desire union with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amidst of this sea of emotions, there was this sound of a gentle breeze (the sheer silence), 1 Kings 19:12. The Lord is not in any of these fears. He was silent (I expected some heart fluttering to a certain degree), but this does not equate absence of His presence. The Lord assured me of His presence, in the silence of my heart, the peace that money cannot buy. His peace that tells me to move forward in the seminary formation, as though He was saying, “I’m with you.
There was this sense of inner peace and joy, just as how the Lord appeared to the disciples, John 20:19-21. The joy of being in union with God in the silence of my heart, to be in love with our Lord, to come to a deeper realisation and reminder that love requires a choice and not merely feelings.
The joy of Easter also entails a mission, John 15:9-17. The Lord invites us on a mission to spread His love to all around us by our words and/or actions, to bear fruit and fruit that will last. As I reflect on the joy of Easter with my initial experience in the seminary, the Lord continues to invite me to His love, to be mouldable so as to serve Him and His Church.
My dear friends, may our Risen Lord continue to draw us to His love, to be heralds of the Gospel as we celebrate the joy of Easter!