The Resurrection of Jesus and Discernment
By Mr. Wilmar Zabala
If there were ever a good season to re-energize or recommit to your discernment, it would be the Easter season. The resurrection of Jesus is about bringing new life. It is about rising from whatever threatens to entomb us. It is about resiliency. Allow me to take you back to the Gospel reading this Sunday to point out the two things you must do to make your discernment renewal a reality.
You must let go of your Good Fridays
Mary of Magdala was so distraught by Jesus' crucifixion that nothing seemed to give her consolation. Early in the morning, she made a trip to the tomb. When she saw that the stone was removed from the tomb, she ran to Peter and the beloved disciple to tell them that Jesus' body might have been stolen. They learn his body was not stolen, because the burial cloths and the head wrappings were still in the tomb. If you are going to steal something, you might as well steal the whole enchilada!
Our inability to let go sometimes blurs our vision of truth and prevents us from exploring what is before us. Like Mary of Magdala, we are tempted to run away from whatever it is rather than stay and face it. Scripture says that after Peter and the beloved disciple leave, Mary of Magdala stays and weeps. She only stops weeping when the risen Jesus appears to her, calls her by name and tells her not to hold on to him. Jesus knows the danger of not letting go.
What could be your Good Friday? What are you still holding on to? They could be those times when you could not seem to forgive yourself because of bad decisions. They could be the disappointments and frustrations about broken relationships or failed goals. They could be losses of any kind. They could be your fears that you might not be talented or holy enough to be a priest or a brother.
Ultimately, letting go of your Good Fridays depends upon trust. You must trust that God makes all things new. If your belief in the resurrection of Jesus is to have power in your life, specifically in the area of discernment, you must embrace that nothing is irreversible and that there is not any loss that cannot be redeemed. Let go because God wants to roll back the stone and let the new life burst forth.
You must change
In that same Gospel, it says that when Simon Peter went into the tomb, he saw the burial clothes. They represent the old self, and they are left behind when this new life begins to take shape. Certainly, there are many things you would want to leave behind if you are to let go and trust. But there is one specific thing that the resurrection of Jesus wants you to do to let go: change the way you look at yourself and give God more room to surprise you!
Do you think you are not cut out for the priesthood or brotherhood? Do you quickly dismiss people's comments that you might make a good priest or brother? Do you keep pushing aside those promptings in your heart and hoping they would go away?
If your belief in the resurrection of Jesus is to have an effect in your life, specifically in the area of discernment, do not assume that you know, that you understand or that you have things all figured out, because this kind of perspective does not leave room for newness and surprises. I discourage you from assigning and attaching predictable labels and characteristics to your life. Let God surprise you. God sees beautiful and special things about you that nobody else will ever see.
Begin this more serious discernment renewal by letting go of your Good Friday and embracing the resurrection of Easter. Let go of your past thoughts and change your perspective, if I may suggest, by attending a Glenmary Come and See Mission Trip. Hey, you never know, God may surprise you.