Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Easter Sunday, Entering the Holy of Holies


Invite Jesus and His resurrection into every detail, every situation and relationship, every fiber of your life.  We begin with simply focusing on the holy presence of Jesus, but at times, we need to move away from the loving awareness of God’s presence.

Sometimes, it feels like, “I’ve done that. I’ve gone as far as I can go with it. I’ve been doing the same thing for twenty minutes, and now I’m falling asleep. Now I feel like I’m running out of batteries.  There’s no more oil in the lamp.  I’ve become distracted or physically tired. I’m finding myself feeling sluggish. At one point there, maybe just for a few minutes, I was very much alive and attuned to God’s presence without knowing how, but there was a spark that was activated, a grace of God’s goodness. There was a flame, a loving attentiveness. But now I’m finding myself disconnected again. Everything was going fine, and suddenly it’s like the channel changes. There’s no longer a clear message coming through, or I’m no longer able to be present.” You need to change it up. You need to put new fuel on the fire.

One way of doing that is inviting the crucified and resurrected Christ into every detail, every situation and relationship, every fiber of your life. Present everything before Him–your past, your present, and your future. Surrender to Him. Invite Him into every aspect of your life. Insert everything of your internal and external life into the eternal mystery of His loving concern for you personally.

Prayerfully and calmly reflect on God’s love, present in your life in concrete ways – in your present, in your past, and surrender your future to Him. See with new eyes, as it were, see through the eyes of God. Recognize that He has been present in every phase of your life as provident protector and provider and as tremendous lover. In every chapter of your life’s story, He was there, resurrecting you. Discover your own salvation history, and see how the Savior has been present in every part of your life story, whether you knew it at the time or not–discover it today.

As Christians, when we say “to meditate,” it means the working of the mind for the sake of coming to the surrender of the heart in love. Meditate upon His steadfast love, mediated to you through the various people He has put into your lives. God’s steadfast love can be mediated to you not only through people, but it can also be mediated to us through pets. God is so awesomely good and humble and down-to-earth that He’ll use a pet if he can’t find a person. Praise God for that!

Now God does put certain people in our lives. But you know what? So does the enemy. The enemy will put certain people in your lives. God does has a plan for us. And so does the enemy. God uses people, and the enemy uses people, good friends or bad friends. At times we wonder, “Well why, God, did you put this person in my life? Why did You allow this person’s path to even cross mine?”

It may well not have been God putting that person in your life. But God can bring light out of it. He allowed it. He permitted it because He could redeem and resurrect it, and because He can bring some good out of it. That’s salvation history.

As we meditate, and it happens in layers, God allows us to see new things about ourselves that we didn’t even know were there, as we discover His presence in our lives in ways that we didn’t dare to even think or weren’t able to acknowledge. God can always reveal new things about who we are, Whose we are, and how He has been present at every step of the way. And having done this, then our response is that from our essence we give God glory and praise! We give God glory and praise for today, for yesterday, and for tomorrow.

Abandon everything, every part of what makes you ‘you’ to His divine disposal. That means being totally disposed to trust in His holy will, which is love and mercy itself. Trust that all can serve His holy will for our well-being. Allow all resistance to trusting in God’s grace to be healed that you may be more free to be who God has made you to be.

To conclude, Desire God ardently. Desire God ardently, as Mary Magdalen searching for Jesus at His tomb when she implores, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put Him.”

St. Anselm expresses his ardent desire for God by these words: “Enter into your heart’s inner chamber. Shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek Him. And when you have shut the door, look for Him. Speak now to God and say with your whole heart: I seek Your face. Your face, Lord, I desire. Lord, my God, teach my heart where and how to seek You, where and how to find You. Look upon us, Lord. Hear us and enlighten us. Show us your very Self. Take pity on our efforts and our striving toward You. For we have no strength apart from You. Teach me to seek You. And when I seek You, show Yourself to me. For I cannot seek You unless You teach me. Nor can I find You unless You show Yourself to me. Let me seek You in desiring You, and desire you in seeking You, and find You in loving You.” Amen.

SOURCE: Auburn Retreat, 2016. Transcribed by Sue Ellen Browder

Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’


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