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Water and wood

I’ve been going through Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians by Dr. Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina to see if it’s something our RCIA participants can use during the Mystagogy period following their (hopeful) reception into the Church at Easter. I must say I’ve been more than impressed so far.

The book is designed to be used as a guide to Mystagogy, but also reads well enough to be used by anyone since, as the authors note, we are all “unfinished Christians” and should always be going through our own mystagogy. It’s laid out in four successive weeks of increasing depth (glory to greater glory as they put it) with very short readings from the Church Fathers for each day of the week. Perhaps my favorite part about the book thus far is the sense of excitement and joy you see in the Fathers’ writings; I think that sense of wonder, excitement and awe is something we find lacking sometimes in our modern Church. But if you can’t get excited about the Son of God assuming human form and accepting death to atone for the sins of each one of us, and then giving himself to us in His Body and Blood at every Mass, well, something is wrong. We don’t have to impress people with our knowledge of theology or philosophy to bring them to Christ – just our joy and excitement at knowing intimately our Savior will be enough.

Of course, a post wouldn’t be sufficient without a quote, now would it? So, from their day 4 reading from St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses:

After crossing the sea, the Israelites encamped in a place where the water was bitter and undrinkable (Ex 15:23). But into that water Moses threw wood, which made it a sweet drink to quench their thirst. The text matches our experience. When we give up the “Egyptian” pleasures that had enslaved us before the passage through the water, life at first seems bitter and difficult. We miss our former pleasures. But once the wood hits the water – that is, once we unite ourselves to the mystery of the resurrection, which began with the wood of the cross – then the virtuous life grows sweeter and more refreshing than any sensual pleasure, because this new life is sweetened by our hope in the things to come.

His typological explanation is more than enough to get me excited all over again. Giddy, even.

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