This week has been one for the record books. Two presentations, three papers (and two more to go), plus the multitude of emotions made me think that Thursday was a long way off. Late nights, no sleep, and an influx of work from my actual job were also part of these glorious few days. I felt weak Monday and Tuesday, and surprisingly strong and upbeat Wednesday and Thursday. I laughed from my belly today, and it felt great.
I’m working on reprogramming myself to see the good in me. Because someone doesn’t love me doesn’t mean I am unlovable. Just because I liked to lead doesn’t mean he wanted to dance.
Easter is around the corner – and the fact that it is Palm Sunday this weekend made me think. Growing up in Catholic school, I’ve heard Palm Sunday year after year being described as “the Passion.” And this might be the first moment, since I’ve used the word ‘passion’ a lot recently, that I’ve asked why is this time in the Catholic Church called something so silly as the Passion? Why did Mel Gibson name his movie “The Passion of the Christ?” Why do we use this loving word to describe a time in our history when we inflicted such pain on a human being? Isn’t passion a good thing?
For those not raised under the tutelage of Sr. Gabriel, Sr. Regina and Sr. Christopher, the Passion was the suffering – the physical, spiritual, and mental anguish of Jesus before his crucifixion…the scourging at the pillar, crowning of the thorns, all that you’ve read about and many pray over.. The Passion comes from the Latin passio, which literally mean ‘suffering.’ Today when we think of passion, we define it as strong emotion and sexual desire. Intense love that doesn’t extinguish over time.
So even after being Catholic for 31 years, I’m just now trying for the first time to relate the two – the Passion that is the suffering and the passion that is intense love. And it makes perfect sense to me that they share the same spelling, To me, they share the same meaning. They live in dual worlds. Where one is, there is the other. Maybe this is where the whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” crap, I mean logic, comes in. That you’ve never felt pain until you’ve felt love. And at some point in every love story, there is intense pain.
If you’ve ever attended a wedding, you’ve heard this from Corinthians. It has a way of defining what love is, the Passion and the passion.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
It is not self-seeking, nor easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongdoing.
It does not delight in evil,
But rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, trusts, hopes, and preserves.
There is nothing love cannot face;
There is no limit to its faith, hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things that last forever:
Faith, hope, and love;
But the greatest of them all is love.
Written thousands of years ago, and it still makes profound sense. Maybe the Passion is to show us that out of suffering, out of darkness, there comes the resurrection, Easter, light. That Passion can lead to passion.