Hope and Healing for Our Lost Relationships (Reflection for Easter Sunday, March 31)

Mar 31, 2024

by Jim Broderick-King, ISP Staff

When I speak with members of our ISP community, especially those who have faced the struggles of addiction, trauma, incarceration, and being unhoused, one recurring theme becomes clear: each of us has faced the reality of lost or broken relationships. For some those losses can feel long-lasting and even irreversible. Life circumstances can alienate many of us from family members. Maybe a lack of trust has forced a separation from a friend or partner. We can put our attachments and addictions ahead of a parent or child. Our physical, emotional or spiritual distance can mean we lose contact with loved ones or even, in our worst imagination, lose a dear person to illness or death while our attention is elsewhere. Where is the hope in these scenarios for our Easter season?

ISP’s patron spiritual figure, Ignatius of Loyola, offers us an answer! In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to move beyond the suffering of the Cross and into the unexpected joy of Jesus’ Resurrection by praying about the many times Jesus appeared to others after death. The first scene he asks us to pray about with our imagination appears nowhere in the Gospels: a reunion with his mother Mary. Ignatius firmly believed this had to be logically the first appearance of the resurrected Christ.

When I myself pray about this scene, I put aside for a moment the holiness of these two figures and focus for a time on the most human aspect of their reunion. I see a loving mom who days earlier had walked the traumatic journey of her child’s suffering toward his unjust death; I see a dutiful son who endured not only physical pain but also the profound emotional challenge of seeing desperate friends and followers, and especially his own mother, watch him suffer. When I pray with that scene, what I mainly experience is the ecstatic surprise and joy of a parent who never expected to embrace her child ever again as she is reunited with a child who deeply wanted to erase the separation of death. If I can channel that level of profound joy, I can then embrace the unimaginable hope that this Resurrection time can offer and hear God speaking in my life and relationships far beyond loss, separation, and even death.

Reflection Questions: What relationship in your life do you most fear losing? With whom would you most want to reunite? How can the God of your understanding help you value those relationships more and help you embrace those people again?

Jim is in his second year as an ISP Regional Director. He loves Ignatian spirituality and being a spiritual director. He lives in Denver with his wife and has two grown daughters


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