Have you ever stood in a sanctuary at night after the lights are out? Have you ever been in a cemetery close to dusk? Have you ever spent time in an adoration chapel by yourself? Were you ever in a Catholic Church in the earliest of mornings when everyone else was gone? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you know that there are places on the earth that actually have a feel that is different than other spaces. I know a priest who openly talks about the times of the year when the division between our tangible earth and other realms is especially “thin”. Some of those that he points to are Christmas Eve, All Saints Day and Good Friday. I might add, as a personal observation, that I also get this sense of the tangible eternal during Lent.
The idea of being close enough to perceive other realms has nothing to do with spiritualism or the occult. It does have to do with the idea that there are some times when we are closer to the eternal than at other times. Did you ever notice that occasions described in scripture when people were in especially serious situations were all times that were “up” somewhere: Mt. Sinai, Mt. Tabor, Mt Moriah, the Top of the Temple, the Mount of Transfiguration, Golgotha. Whether metaphorical or actual these locations were archetypes for places that were closer to God than ordinary terrain. Closer to heaven, so to speak.
As you grow in the Spiritual Life you develop skills. Your sensitivity for the prompting of the Spirit improves, prayer becomes easier, the ability to become quiet in your soul changes and your knowledge that this isn’t the only dimension improves. It’s part of spiritual maturity. The Church teaches that as far as our concept of time and place are concerned, these are really artificial parameters. God is the eternal now and the moment is all that we actually have. So the opportunity to be next to the veil and closer than usual to the eternal is a rare opportunity to get a little closer, hear a little clearer, follow a little more intimately. Lent is a time to take advantage of the thin veil and improve our skills in a way that we are unable to do at any other time of the year. It’s kind of like being invited to a Master Class by the greatest Diva who has ever sung.
So whether you understand it or not, take it on the experience and authority of others that Holy Week and Lent are times that could give you opportunities for spiritual growth and magnified prayer that you cannot get any other time of the year. If your Lent has not been especially deep as far as you are concerned, take heart. Good Friday and Holy Week are coming, the Veil is rending. Re think the idea of being closer to the Divine than you have been before. Do something that takes advantage of this idea. That might be something simple like finding some total silence and prayer time in your life or attending the complete Triduum or venerating the Cross for the first time in years. Whatever you choose, remember and live the idea that, for people of faith, this time of the year is different than any other time. The Veil is parting, just a little! Be brave enough to peek in!
Copyright© 2016, Kathryn M. Cunningham