For several years, my office was just two blocks away from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I used to go there during the lunch break and spend half an hour looking at one or two works of art. Can we digest more than a couple of masterpieces a day? I wanted to look at one or two great paintings without the tourist rush that turns museum halls into racetracks.
Whenever you go to a really good museum, after you see the first ten paintings, it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of awareness. You become somewhat numb to the greatness in front of your eyes.
I have the same feeling each year on Easter Sunday. The mystery of the Resurrection is beyond our comprehension and our sensibility. For many years now, I have tried to use my MoMA strategy to comprehend the meaning of Easter. Each year, I try to discover a new detail, an unknown splendor, a forgotten symbol, a fresh miracle.
Maybe this is one of the reasons we celebrate the same mysteries each year – to try to learn, little by little, what we will never fully understand.
Each year I look for something that could help me comprehend a little better what happened in Jerusalem in the small hours of the first Resurrection Sunday.
During this Lent season, Bishop DiMarzio invited us to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign. We have been publishing two or three stories every week about the sanctity of life as part of our efforts to support the campaign. Last week, we ran a story about Rachel’s Helpers, “a program for women who have had an abortion and are seeking a spiritual healing from this experience.” You can read the article, “Pro-Life Group Helps Women Recover After Abortion,” here: https://bit.ly/2UCx0DI
The article tells the story of Pamela, a woman who had an abortion and suffered in silence for many years until she found Rachel’s Helpers. They helped her deal with the sorrow and heal the spiritual wounds. Eventually, she became an active member of the group.
“I feel that I am able by this to take something horrible that I did and turn it for good for other women,” Pamela says.
For me,this was a symbol of the Resurrection. The liturgy of the Easter Vigil is a symbolic journey from darkness to light, from death to life. The passion and death of the innocent Christ and His infinite mercy are the means to our redemption. His Resurrection is our reason for hope. We know that, but we can’t fully understand it.
But this year Pamela’s story showed me His mercy under a new light. I see the work the Rachel’s Helpers as a sign of redemption and the healing of Pamela’s wounds – and so many other women they have helped – as a symbol of the resurrection.
There is a quote from Saint John Paul II that one of our colleagues often repeats: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Rachel’s Helpers brings this message to many women who had an abortion and need their prayer and support to heal so they may taste the fruits of the resurrection in their own lives. If you or someone you know would like more information about Rachel’s Helpers, call (347) 702-2352.
This year, they taught me something fresh about the event that changed human history. And I am grateful for that.