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From Ashes to Easter
(Photo meditation on Lent and Easter)
By Joseph R. Veneroso, M.M.

Called to leave behind slavery
To sin and self-centeredness
Still we hesitate to cross such a vast,
Empty, trackless wilderness fearing
Our newfound freedom most of all.

Reminders of our mortality haunt every step.
Dust we are, to dust we shall return.
We know. We know. O would that we did not!
How we long to go back to that sure safety
Where bad habits, cool indifference, and
Cruel apathy made us blissfully forgetful
Of death’s sad certainty.

At length we reluctantly resolve to forge ahead,
Not realizing our prayers and penances
Would lead us to walk his Way.
But now we are Pilate, we the soldiers,
The crowd, the women, Simon, Veronica.
We stand at the foot of the cross and
Cannot help but wonder why
Undergo such sacrifice and
Unspeakable suffering and humiliation.

As if reading our unspoken thoughts, he says,
“Do you still not see or understand?
Nothing you can do, no sin you can commit
Will ever make me stop loving you.”
And with that he bows his head and dies.
Before daybreak we rise to walk
Alongside the mourning, myrrh-bearing women.
The stone removed, our sadness devolves into despair.
An empty tomb taunts us with renewed doubts.
Grave robbers? The owner? The wrong tomb? Or…

“Why seek the living among the dead?”
He says our name.
He whom we thought dead now lives again
We rush back with Magdalene
To spread the Good News and henceforth
To live for him who died and rose for us.