Paschal Mystery: Real Time
By Fr. Mark Hushen, OSFS
DeSales Weekly welcomes Fr. Mark Hushen, OSFS, to share a reflection. At various times, different voices from the Oblate family will be featured to highlight their perspective on the Salesian spirit.
As the president of Fr. Martin's Ashley, a national addiction treatment center, I experience many women, men, and young people managing their diseases and reclaiming their lives. You can imagine that this is a grace, at every turn. Though differently, grace still abounds when someone falls under the powerful weight of addiction.
Last week I visited with a family whose 20-something daughter died from a heroin overdose. Their devastation, disappointment, and grief are beyond explanation. Yet, their faith took them to see glimpses of hope in their daughter's journey. They recalled the seasons of her life when she was victorious over addiction, returning to the brightness of her spirit that included love, laughter, and warmth.
On the same day, I listened to the sheer joy of a number of the people in our community who are slowly emerging to champion the life-threatening struggle of drug and alcohol addiction. (And, later on that same day, a generous benefactor presented me with a five million dollar gift to expand our treatment center!)
During the Lenten season, we prepare to celebrate, during the Sacred Triduum, the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These three salvific movements in the life of our gentle Savior are called, in theological parlance, the paschal mystery.
While we mark these events with great reverence and ritual during Holy Week and the Easter season, we live them—day in and day out—in the ordinary moments of our lives. My friends who at Ashley are healing through the grace of recovery from addiction know, in real time and in real life, the suffering, pain, grief, and ultimately joy and delight of moving through a day tempted, yet sober. They can look back on a crucifying journey where they and their loved ones suffered: some died, others still fall, and some touch the resurrected life of sobriety.
Celebrating the paschal mystery is never reserved to a few days in spring. It is a daily experience for us all, as we recover from and wrestle with anything that holds us back from being fully alive and the fully human being who God has called us to be.
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