This past week I have been in training for Totus Tuus, a summer catechesis program for kids in grades 1-12. I’ll fill all of you in on that and how it came about later — but let me just say that this summer has barely started and my life is already changed. I think I’ve cried more in church during the last week than ever before. I’m pretty sure my teammates think I need Prozac and more Jesus.
I have been in prayer, Mass, fellowship, and have under teachings with other (fabulous) young adult Catholics — all of the teachings have been good, but one priest said something in a lesson that might have just wrecked my life.
(That would be you, Fr. Aaron).
When you get a group of young, theologically informed Catholics together in a classroom and pump them up with copious amounts of coffee, someone is going to start asking questions that none of us teachers will ever face this summer.
(Unless, as a fellow teacher pointed out [that would be you, Rachel], you get a homeschooled kid. I have no excuses. It’s true).
During one of these discussions, Father pointed out that someone’s objection to something (I don’t remember what it was — they were a seminarian and the question went over my head) was invalid because God is outside of time.
I grinned when I heard that, because it reminded me of Doctor Who, and I began making more analogies connecting Catholic theology to the Doctor, because that’s how I roll. I didn’t think anything else of it, and went through my next classes.
Tonight, each Diocese present at training took an hour for all-night Adoration. I had recently received news about a tragic, painful death in the family of friends from home and was having a hard time focusing on prayer. I was tired, I was sore, I was hurting for my family and my friends; honestly, it’s the first time all week I just wasn’t “into” it.
But I heard Fr. Aaron’s voice in my head (a voice that is neither still nor small), saying “God is outside of time.” I didn’t remember a single thing said after that, but I continued meditating on it.
If God is outside of time, when I’m in his presence, I can have peace.
Because his body holds all of eternity. And in his time, everything I’m going through has already happened. He has already won the victory. The people I mourn for, grieve with, and ache over have received their joy. Our night of weeping is over, and we have found hope.
In his time, every motherless cry is being held in the arms of his mother. Our mother. Being surrounded by the love of our Father and restored by the Holy Spirit.
When I’m in his presence, I’m not just in the presence of the Body and Blood.
I’m in the presence of the Crucifixion. I’m kneeling there as Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Father, he who is fully God and fully Man, is being brutally slaughtered on a crude Cross for my salvation. For our salvation. For the salvation of the entire world, throughout time.
I’m clinging to Mary, whose only desire is for us to follow her Son and Savior. In that moment she isn’t a smiling statue. She is a mother whose son is mutilated and naked in front of her. The fruit of her sacred womb, the ark that held the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
At the same time he’s smiling and laughing and telling the disciples to “Let the little children come!”, I’m a little girl in a tiny storefront country pentecostal church, cutting a paper heart with my name scribbled across and placing it inside a gold box, barely able to contain my joy at giving Jesus a Christmas present — but I’m also a 21 year old woman being baptized in water and spirit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 17 year old praying in an orphanage in China. A 3 year old welcoming a new sister home.
It’s not just the adulteress he’s telling to “Go, and sin no more.”
I’m rejoicing in Bethlehem.
I’m weeping with Hanna.
I’m witnessing the unwavering faith of Abraham and the obedience of Isaac.
The courage of Esther.
But more than anything, I am present when Christ fulfilled every single promise of God ever made in all of time. I feel the earth shaking, the unspeakable power of time. Time. Time. Shifting. Moving. The power of restoration. The power of the resurrection. I fall on my face as he rises again from the dead, the chains of death powerless to control the creator of all that is seen and unseen. The darkness of death unable to extinguish his marvelous, glorious light. He is victorious.
And there is where I find my victory. That single moment in time and space is where my victory was won, is won, is being fought for. Everything centers around that. Nothing else matters, because in that moment everything else is contained.