We all know how it feels to be in awe of a person or an experience. My husband remembers the feeling as a child when he sat in a truck with his dad and watched as Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite, sped by in the dark sky. Many years later, when he and I saw our newborn daughter for the first time, we were filled with joy and wonder. When I woke up feeling surprisingly fine after a serious operation and saw my solicitous smiling family members by my bedside, I knew an awesome feeling of relief and love.
The scripture readings in this Easter season include some intense descriptions of how the disciples felt as the result of Jesus’ resurrection and of their new communal life.
Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the
apostles. (Acts 2:43)
…you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your
faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8c-9)
Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he
spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us.” (Luke 24:32)
Awe, indescribable and glorious joy, hearts burning are all very powerful sensations! Those sensations are available to us today in the spiritual realm. Do we pay attention? Are we open? Do we take too much for granted?
Let’s consider the Holy Eucharist. We should be in awe every time we receive this wonderful sacrament. Sure, the host is small and not flavorful, but it is truly Jesus’ Body that is risen after dying a terrible death on the cross for us! Our feast of salvation! We cannot get much closer to him while we are in this world. We consume him, and his love consumes us! After so many Masses and so many times receiving Holy Communion, do we remember whom we are receiving? Only a few minutes go by after we receive Communion until the priest or deacon dismisses us. Why not continue our offering of thanksgiving past the church doors? I am sure we will check our phones right away. Do we rejoice with indescribable and glorious joy? Do our hearts burn? Are we in a rush to go get a meal or a cup of coffee?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if awe would come upon everyone? A good way to nurture that awe is through faith-sharing. It gets easier and easier to talk about our faith when we do it frequently with other Christians. We don’t need halos to do this. It is helpful to find or even start a faith-sharing group. Perhaps groups are available at your parish church, but if not, even gathering with a few close friends and using small-group materials that are available from, for example, RENEW International can help us bask in that precious awe of the Lord. Let’s keep our hearts burning within us—today!
Painting: "The Virgin at Prayer" by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, 1640-1650. National Gallery, London. Public Domain.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.