As the days stretch longer, this time of year is a struggle naturally and supernaturally. In being stretched, we learn our limits, we learn what stuff we are made of, and whether or not we need to adjust our routes along the path of life.
Keep reading to understand nature a little better this time of year, and to let another sort of mountain climb bring you to an incredible summit…while being refreshed by some beauty along the way!
March and April are the highlights of spring.
The days stretch from ten hours of daylight to gradually 14 or more. We are glad for the light and yet it takes a lot to adjust to this stretching of our day. Any one else tired here?
The weather is fickle and the outgoing season wages war with the incoming season: our moods and allergies suffer from the oppressive cloudiness and rain and new growth.
With the increasing light and moisture, the northern hemisphere literally pulsates with life as the green shoots rise out of the ground. Pictured closeup, that’s got to be quite an effort for the energy of a baby plant: its fragile leaves thrust themselves up through the oppressive darkness and layers of dirt to finally come up into the light.
As the shafts of grass begin to pierce through the ground, and the sap travels up and outward to the new shoots coming forth, the Catholic Church travels upwards on the mountain of the Liturgical Year.
What is the Liturgical Year? It is how the Bride of Christ, the Catholic Church, arranges the feasts which she throws throughout the year to honor and relive the life of Christ, her spouse. It is both to honor him, and that we, her children, may be “in the likeness of Christ.”
This arrangement, when studied and lived year after year, reveals the story of mankind, and God’s heart and plan for our salvation through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
At every step along the way, at every feast, no matter how solemn or joyful, the Mass is the center both of every moment of the climb and of the entire climb.
In this great event, we not only see the whole story of mankind reenacted through symbolism, but also the same exact un-bloody Calvary where our hero and King died for Holy Mother Church and for all of us. From his side, she came, and she continues, enabling the renewal of this un-bloody sacrifice.
At this point in the Liturgical Year, the goal is for man to see himself as he is: beloved sinners, needing a redeemer. The climb to Redemption, to the glorious peak of Easter, takes pluck and courage.
We are nearly at the end of the climb -the final thrust will be the Sacred Triduum in Holy Week.
When I made this entry in the travelogue, it was at the beginning of Lent (I try to keep a few weeks ahead in this project). Fr. Rutledge suggested in a sermon to the parish that we reexamine our Camino resolutions, to make sure that we are going to be worthy of the Immaculata and have the most long term good effects.
My spiritual guide also suggested the same thing. And so, instead of going to Mass every day, the route was altered to encompass both a physical visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament if Mass doesn’t happen, and to work on interior boundaries, or “mortification of the imagination.”
It may seem small and nowhere as incredible as getting to Mass every day; that is definitely the truth! But there is wisdom in choosing the right thing and not The Best thing. The most important part of this journey is that we each advance. If we’re not advancing, we’re slipping backward and becoming discouraged. It’s wise to detach, sit down, and reexamine things.
Now we have one week left to make this climb so that we can summit the Easter peak glorious with our Hero on Resurrection Day.
The is the final haul for the grand summit this Liturgical Year. How is our route? Do we need to adjust for anything? Make allowances for anything? Shed any unneeded gear? Get some more supplies or oxygen? (You can be creative in how this could figuratively apply to you!)
Storms will assail us, cloud our visibility, and we may run low in strength and patience. Let us prudently stay on course, step by step going “up to the mountain of the Lord.” Best wishes for a good climb!
Buen Camino, friends!
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Did you see the little man on the mountain climbing, in my travelogue? That is Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati! The books here are written by his sister. Bl. Pier Georgio was a mountaineer when he wasn’t giving his life to the poor.
He was devoted to Christ in the Eucharist and suffered persecution from his family for his devotion to his Faith. He died extremely young, in a heartbreaking manner. His life is a model for all those who need a hero.