The joy of rediscovery
You may remember the hit song by the group Journey, “Faithfully,” released in 1983. The lyrics contain this wonderful line: “I get the joy of rediscovering you.”
We’re going to have the opportunity to experience the joy of rediscovering many things in the months to come — from people, to places like our churches, to ultimately Our Lord, especially in the Mass and sacraments.
As I write this, we are still under the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. And we are looking forward to getting back to “normal.” I suspect it will be a time of “rediscovery.”
I was at Costco the other day grocery shopping, and one thing that really struck me was not being able to see people’s smiles behind their masks. One friend commented, “I’m assuming others are indeed smiling underneath their masks!” I can hope so!
We also will eventually have the opportunity to rediscover the joy of a hug, the importance of community and the gift of being in our churches for the celebration of the Mass amidst our parish family.
I suspect not a few tears will be shed (my own among them) when we are able to re-enter our churches and partake of the most Holy Eucharist. I wonder if in this rediscovery, we might re-experience the awe, wonder and joy we felt when we received our First Holy Communion so many years ago?
I look forward to seeing again the holy and reverent smiles on so many of our parishioner’s faces as I distribute Holy Communion! Perhaps we may rediscover and experience anew the intensity of the Lord’s presence which so many of us have been blessed to experience in grace-filled moments through the years.
Matthew Kelly, the popular Catholic author and founder of Dynamic Catholic, has a book titled “Rediscovering Catholicism.” In it, he encourages his readers to take another look at the richness and beauty of the Catholic faith, to “rediscover” what perhaps they had forgotten or missed.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan had an inciteful commercial air in New York some years ago, in which he asked if maybe some of us haven’t become “too comfortable” with our faith or our relationship with Jesus. And in that commercial he encouraged people to, in a certain sense, rediscover the person of Jesus and the Church He established.
One of the goals of many of the marriage strengthening or healing retreats available, including Worldwide Marriage Encounter wwme.org and Retrouvaillehelpourmarriage.org is to help couples “rediscover” the love and awe they experienced towards each other when they were first married.
This idea of rediscovery also gets ample evidence in the Scriptures. One of the more illustrative stories in the Old Testament is the “rediscovery of the law” under King Josiah (2 Kings 22:1-23:25). The people of Israel had fallen away from the practice of their faith and had forgotten the Law of God. Under King Josiah the law was literally unearthed as they were working on the temple. This rediscovery lead to repentance and ultimately joy as they realized the gift that they had rediscovered. Similarly, in the Book of Revelation, the Church in Ephesus is called to return or rediscover the love they originally had for the Lord (Rev 2: 4-5).
We can also find in the saints, as in every age and time, that their lives and example helped people to discover or rediscover the ultimate meaning of life and what a life lived in Christ looks like. The saints were not immune to the trials and tribulations of their times, but accompanied the people in their day and age, helping them to discover “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding…in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Pope Francis has cast the New Evangelization in terms of helping people to “encounter” or re-encounter Jesus Christ. Or perhaps we might say, inviting the world to rediscover the God who loves them, sustains them and desires them to spend eternity with Him forever “faithfully” in heaven. Ultimately, inviting the world to “the joy of rediscovering” Jesus Christ.
—Deacon Phil Lawson is the executive director of evangelization, catechesis, divine worship, marriage and family and respect life for the Diocese of Burlington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.