Today's mass reading is from Exodus 12 - the establishment of the Passover. I used to wonder at the specificity of God's instructions for the ritual. Why must the lamb be "roasted" and not boiled? Why do they have to roast the head? Why must the blood be on the doorposts and lintel?

I was in awe of the symbols of crucifixion when I read that roasting the whole lamb involved a cross-shaped spit, and when I realized what the wooden doorframes prefigured. The Passover prepared the way for Christ's Eucharistic sacrifice - the paschal mystery. Every time we go to Mass, we participate in such an ancient ritual, one in which the lives of millions have been wrapped up throughout history. An understanding of Exodus 12 certainly spurs on a deep reverence for the Mass. It can also give us greater insights into how to receive the Eucharist.
In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste (11).
I'm not suggesting that we wear traveling costumes every Sunday, but I do think that, as St. Peter exhorted, we should gird up the loins of our minds, setting our hopes completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13). The phrase "gird your loins" refers to a lifting and tucking of robes in order to have freedom of movement. To gird the loins of our minds, I think, is to prepare for a journey.

The Hebrews were setting off to the promised land, but our journey is to our home in Heaven - the complete "revelation of Jesus Christ." Each time we receive the Eucharist, we should be in mind that we are pilgrims to another land, and fed by Christ, should hasten to ever come closer to His Kingdom.

My recent visit to the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia allowed for much time in prayer, contemplation, and discussion with these women who have consecrated their whole lives to God. Unexpectedly, I was given many insights to marriage even as I was in a place absent of any married people.
The world can't understand why sex is reverenced so much by the Church as to be put on such sacred ground as Holy Matrimony. All the doctrines surrounding contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, &c. are seen by the world as obsessive. Many find the Church unreasonable for setting up around marriage such a high hedge.

But then, incomprehensibly, thousands of marriageable young Christians go off to the convent or seminary to take vows of chastity. Marriage is touted as a highly reverenced sacrament one day, and then proclaimed to be unnecessary for one's personal fulfillment the next.


The Church elevates marriage because of its source. The marital union is a very symbol of God's Trinitarian nature. And it was made clear to me in the convent that the reason the sisters don't need marriage is because they possess that source.
At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven. (Mt 22:30)
In heaven we will experience such a powerful love that it will eclipse the most intimate of human unions. This is the secret behind why the nuns revere marriage more than anyone, yet live as celibates. Because God's love is so unfathomably great, its living image in marriage is also great. But because it is unfathomably great, every living image is dwarfed in His presence.

Even while the world cuts down the hedge around marriage, devaluing and abusing it, they elevate romantic relationships as if they were life's ultimate fulfillment. The Christian respects the sanctity of marriage, knowing its source. And connected to its source, finds fulfillment whether wedded or chaste. 

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