By Fr. Reno Aiardi, I.M.C.
Many thanks, for your precious and generous Lenten and Easter gifts for the Rice Bowl and the Holy Land. May God bless you for sharing and enhancing the lives of the poor in the Missions, locally and in the Holy Land.
As we are basking in the glory of our Lord’s Resurrection during these 50 days of the Easter Season, this is a time when we honor our mothers, and especially our heavenly mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is also a time when we focus on the Feast of the Ascension as a tremendous act of faith in us. Jesus, in leaving us, tells us that we are ready to be the Body of Christ, the Church on earth. Even stronger than His physical departure, is the proclamation that if He does not go away, the Spirit cannot come.
When I try to pray and live the Ascension, two images come to my mind: autumn trees and departing friends. Once, on an autumn day very near the edge of winter, I stood like the friends of Jesus, gazing upward toward an almost empty tree. The leaves seemed to be saying to the tree, “unless we go away, you cannot be renewed. We have to die and then must return to the earth. We have to let go of you so you can be reborn.” And how often in airports I have stood gazing upward toward ascending planes, remembering the words of Jesus, “Unless I go away, the Spirit cannot come.” Sometimes we have to be left on our own to discover the uniqueness and strength that is ours. It is as though in leaving, whether it is Jesus, a friend or a leaf, something of them returns to convince us we are not alone. We have not been abandoned. We have, perhaps, in that leaving been given the gift of ourselves in a new, deeper, and more lasting way of renewal and fulfillment of our faith.
In honor of all mothers, we pray that our Blessed Mother will show her great love for you in a particular way this month.
Fr. Reno Aiardi, I.M.C., is director of the Mission Office in the Diocese of San Bernardino and pastor at St. Frances de Sales Parish in Riverside.