Two Sundays ago, n we were given the way of purification in the story of woman of Samaria at the well. Last Sunday we had the story of the blind man who receives his sight, a story about the second way of enlightenment. Now this Sunday we have the story of Lazarus raised from the dead, which is the way of union, because Lazarus now shares with Christ eternal life while even still here on earth.

The church gives us this lectionary pattern of readings, the spiritual path from Evagrios of Pontikos and John Cassian, which is the purgative, enlightenment, and union. This is the way of the spiritual journey. In our “go faster” culture, of course, we want to skip merrily to the unitive way without doing all the work that necessarily comes to in the tradition of the first two steps and in that order. This outlines the way to fullness of life in Christ, and that in this new life we will have joy in abundance. To know Jesus is to be one with Him.

This is not an easy way, to be taken lightly. It is all given to us in light of next Sunday of Palms, when we will pray with the final unitive way of redemptive suffering. I remember first hearing that from Fr. Carol Stuhmueller at CTU years ago. So I’m now thinking and reflecting on these things in light of the plague upon us. This will sadly be for many a squandered time and a great lesson in humility that will help begin the great journey into Christ. Which will it be for you.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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