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God’s Peace and blessings to you all!  Alleluia, Christ is risen!!!

Here is my sermon from this past weekend’s Easter Vigil.  You can find the lectionary readings HERE.

Today is the day we celebrate a God that is too big for any little box we can create; whether that box goes by the name of hell, death, race, politics, church, or anything else we can create.  If God is that big, let our “Alleluia” which proclaims that God be no lessing amazing!

Dear Siblings, postulants, and friends,

God’s Peace and blessings to you all!  I greet you today in the name of the risen Lord!  I pray that you all had a formative Lent, a prayerful Holy Week, and a joyous Easter celebration.
Last year, my Easter message to you all was to remember that in the midst of our celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection, we must be mindful of those who are still rooted in Good Friday.  And again, as we celebrate, I would remind you all that there are still those who need to hear the good news that grief and loss are not eternal.
This year, I would invite you to take on an Easter discipline.  Sure, a Lenten discipline goes without saying.  It’s what we’re all expected to do.  But Easter?  Well, let’s remember that the Easter celebration is intentionally longer than the Lenten fast.  Our liturgical calendar (or Kalendar, for all of us traditionalists), is structured to emphasize the importance of the Feast, so I would ask, how will you live out that importance?  Lent is a time of preparation, and we prepare through our various disciplines.  But what use is that preparation if we do not follow through?
During the course of the Triduum, we recounted our Christian story.  We tell our stories within the context of the liturgy to remind ourselves of what our identity really is.  It can be easy to fall back into ourselves, into our religious communities, and pat each other on the back as we remind ourselves of who we really are.  But what was it that we heard Jesus command both in the Maundy Thursday liturgy and the Great Easter Feast?  On Maundy Thursday, we heard that we must love others as Christ loved us, and that others will know us by that love.  That means that others will know of this Christian identity without us having to say a word.  Love is not just lip service, it is action!  And then we found ourselves with the Marys at the tomb.  And what were they told there?  To go out and tell others that Christ had risen!
So here is the discipline that I would invite you to explore this Easter.  For the next 50 days, how will you show that you are Christian?  How will you tell others about the God that we have encountered without having to heap even more words onto a society that is already inundated with words upon words?
Remember how Henri Nouwen described driving down the highway in The Way of the Heart?  With all those billboards, it was like driving through a dictionary!  We live in a world that has become desensitized to words.  Do we want our story to become just one more billboard that people ignore as they pass through life?
So this year, I invite you to be inventive.  Be imaginative.  How will you show people what we have discovered without having to speak first?  The motto of our Order is Silentio Coram Deo, silence before God.  This Easter, how will you be silent before other people and still fulfill that ultimate command given to us by our Lord?
As you find your discipline, I hope you’ll share it with us all.  I look forward to hearing what you will do.  And remember, like all disciplines, it will take effort.  After all, we have 50 days to keep it up.  So support one another and keep each other accountable in this.  This is one of the great gifts of community, is it not?
Know that you are all in my prayers, and I ask that you keep me in yours.  Let us rejoice that the Lord is risen indeed!  God’s Peace.
Silentio Coram Deo,
Br. Kenneth
God’s Peace and blessings to you all!  Christ anesti!  Christ is risen!  And so we begin the 50 days of celebration that is the Easter Season.  For many of us, today is often sluggish.  After the rigors of Holy Week and the early Vigil service of Easter morning, we could all usually do with a full day of rest.  As the previous week catches up with us, we hardly have the energy to celebrate on the day after Easter. But we are called not just to celebrate the Risen Lord on Easter morning, but for a full 50 days, outstripping the 40 days of penitence in Lent.
But when the alarm goes off on Monday morning, we wonder how on earth we managed to get up at 3:30 AM the day before.  And for most of us, Monday means that it’s back to the real world, back to the usual schedule and demands of life.  It’s back to work for some.  Back to school for others.  Easter has come.  We have celebrated the miracle of the Resurrection, but life goes on just like before.  And for many in our Order, and those out in the world, life circumstances have left us in the waiting of Holy Saturday, still waiting for the true release that comes on Easter morning.  School is still ongoing, with no clear design after graduation.  The job search is still on, trying to find employment that fulfills and still pays the bills.  Transition in life is still uncertain.  Spiritual discernment is never ending.  We know that it is Easter, but we still feel the anxieties of Holy Saturday just as the Apostles did.
But as contemplatives, we often find our greatest formation in paradox. And as disciples 2,000 years after the fact, we already know the end of the story.  Of course, knowing what is coming, having faith that the tomb of our despairs will be empty, believing that God is waiting to find us out on the road, all this does not make the anxiety of our lives disappear.   We still have to sit with the tension and live through it.  But in truly knowing that the tomb is empty, we have faith that God is here with us, even in the midst of our tension and anxieties.  And remembering that takes effort.
Lent is a period of inner work, penitence and discipline, that leads us to Easter.  But that does not mean that Easter, even as a celebration, is nothing more than coasting and taking it easy.  Like an athlete that trains day after day, preparing for the marathon, we train day after day in Lent to prepare for the marathon that is Easter, but that marathon still requires tremendous effort.  Even in the midst of Resurrection, we will be with Thomas and experience his doubts.  We will walk with the Apostles, still feeling loss because we do not recognize the Resurrected Christ in front of us who is comforting us.  We will fall into despair and require a familiar act like the breaking of bread to remember that the tomb is indeed empty, that the story did not end with the crucifixion, but continues on everyday in the glorious Resurrection!
Remembering to celebrate these 50 days of Easter will take effort, but it is an effort that brings joy, hope, and peace.  This Easter season, I ask you to pray especially for those who are still waiting in Holy Saturday, and who need the promise of Easter more than ever.  We, as contemplatives, have found God inside us.  We have each experienced that Love.  Now, we must be true disciples and carry that Love out to those who so desperately need it.  And as a community of contemplatives, when you find a Brother or Sister who is experiencing the anxieties of life, help each other in this season of Easter by reminding one another that the Christ is Risen, that the Lord is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  God’s Peace.
Silentio Coram Deo,
Br. Kenneth Hosley, O.P.C.
April 2017
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