As we are now in the season of Lent, and may be realizing that what we gave up as our sacrifice this year is more difficult than we anticipated. One way to refocus our resolve to continue is by reflecting deeper into what Jesus did for us these last few weeks and days of his life on earth. We may listen to the Gospel, but do we truly understand all of the symbolism and fulfillment of prophecies for this ultimate sacrifice that was made for our sins? Christopher Carstens resolves this in A Devotional Journey into the Easter Mystery. Let’s get a taste of what we can learn during this time of reflection.
Clear heads and pure hearts
By understanding fully the Paschal Triduum we will be prepared fully for this holiest of Holy Weeks. There is so much depth and beauty in each of the celebrations, unless we understand the importance of every prayer and movement, we can overlook the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Central focus is the Paschal Mystery
To often we make a big deal about what we are giving up or doing for lent we forget what we are doing it for. Focus the sacrifice on Jesus and not ourselves.
Walk with Him into the new Jerusalem
Just as Jesus was greeted into Jerusalem with cries of joy and Hosannas, those there only though Jesus was there to free them from the Roman’s. We know now, what Jesus was really doing was leading us into a new Kingdom and we must follow him more closely in faith.
Using the natural to demonstrate the supernatural
Thinking of how bread is made; from small seed of wheat, to it being raised, picked, milled, mixed, raised, baked and eaten, Jesus demonstrates the supernatural by including the institution of the Eucharistic during the Passover meal. The lambs are born in the spring, which would make them one year old the next spring for the sacrifice to the Lord, although still not perfect. This is repeated year after year, week after week, to ‘remember’ what the Lord did. It is not to remind the Lord, but to remind ourselves what the Lord did for us.
Good Friday transforms the Cross
What was a symbol of capital punishment, is now turned into a symbol of our freedom from sin. What the Jewish leadership thought would be a defeat for the followers of Jesus, instead ushered into the world a new salvation from the shortcomings of their sacrifices.
But the sacraments are nothing without the Church to administer them, of course. Therefore, intrinsically related to the blood and water pouring from Christ’s side – symbols of the waters of baptism and the Blood of the Eucharist – is the birth of the Church herself.
Made sons and daughters of God
“But the Paschal Mystery also allows us to be made divine sons and daughters by the Father.” During the season of Easter through the Pentecost, we are reminded by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the Cross, we are adopted by God. This makes us heirs, just as Jesus is, the first born. Love this quote: “The Devil was right about one thing: we were to be like gods, but not because of his diabolical say-so, nor because of man’s prideful willing so. Rather, it was due to God’s divine doing so – His becoming man and rising from the tomb – that we can now share in His divinity.”
A Devotional Journey into the Easter Mystery by Christopher Carstens is filled with fascinating mysteries and ways of how from Lent through the Paschal Mystery to Pentecost our Lord fulfilled his mission to bring into being the new Jerusalem to all of us on earth. Some hidden deep into every movement he made and others quite obvious, Carstens unveils the symbolism and ways the Lord continues to bless us through his sacrifice. This book is a wonderful addition to our Lenten sacrifices and will draw us deeper into the mystery of our faith.