Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When The Doors Are Locked

CHRISTMAS HAS ITS OWN WONDER: A holy Mother with her Infant, shepherds and angels, a traveling star and guests from the East. But so does Easter: An angel conversation at the tomb, the love of the myrrh-bearing women, Magdalen thinking the Risen Jesus is the gardener, the faith-proclamation of Thomas, Jesus preparing breakfast on the beach for the down-spirited apostles.

And there is one Easter theme we might consider as soon the season will pass. It is Jesus appearing to the apostles, though the room where they have gathered is locked.

Jesus doesn't have a spare key.
He doesn't break down the door.
No one lets him in.
He appears (it is really Jesus!) despite the locked doors!

But what does it mean? Remember metaphor doesn't mean something is not real but rather it is most real because we experience it in some deeply personal way. 

We all have our locked up place. It isn't the computer requiring a password. It isn't the car parked on a city street. It isn't the office containing personal papers. But the locked place which concerns Jesus is my inner psychological place, my emotional room, my mind of memories, my heart which can be broken, perhaps a spiritual place.

But remember, the apostles are locked in for fear. And while we can lock ourselves in for fear, we might also lock ourselves in for shame, anger or sadness. Spiritual work begins by naming these inner places.

Some people live in inner rooms circling in sorrow or hate. Rehearsing old memories and wounds seemingly forever.

I was abused.
I was taken advantage of.
I was dismissed.
I was abandoned.
I wasn't included.

And the resentment can be very deep. I might be nursing a time of mistaken-ness, immaturity, ignorance or squandering selfishness. Perhaps I can't let go of a time ruined by a choice I made - an even deadly choice. Anyway, we might imagine ourselves in the felt misery of that inner room, and then this prayer.

The key may be lost Lord Jesus,
The light dim, I can't see the door,
The room sealed up,
The barricades high,
The air, long ago gone bad.

But come in,
come in, 
let's leave this room
before the Easter Springtime's past.
Refresh in my mind,
you see me always
the Mother watching her children
for danger may be near.

Indeed, you see me always,
but as I was in the womb,
the day of my birth,
all new and filled with
God thought and
divine breath!


  1. Jesus doesn't need a key to enter places locked off to others, but how do we force ourselves to listen once he is in. Or is knowing he is sitting beside us enough to let the light peak in?

    1. I don't believe in 'force' in the spiritual life. Maybe it's when we are tired of the way things are that we are more apt to hear the Lord speak.

  2. You state this so well Father Stephen. Our locking ourselves in and Jesus being able to enter. It gives me comfort to know that Jesus can break through the barriers that we have set up. Sometimes I feel blind to my own shortcomings and as a result become defensive and resentful of others. So I will use the key you have just given me to pray for the unlocking of my heart.

    1. Remember the little song the children would sing on their First Communion Day: Come into my heart, come into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come into my heart to stay.

  3. Thank you for this prayer. It is the perfect reminder of God's unconditional love.

  4. This is such a powerful Post. It penetrates deep into the soul, the cries for help and forgiveness, that are so hard to reveal, understand. Let Me in, Open up! I can't help but feel, this post came to you along your own journey. It is good you are a writer. Now, you can share with us your feelings and discoveries on how to unlock this darkness we feel. The Spirit is in you.

    1. Much of it indeed is my life. A locked room. Fear is our great enemy really. See my reply I made to a post a few lines up. That little children's chant is good for adults too. It's an aspiration we can use when our thoughts darken and we seize up especially about the past. It's a faith response to anxieties.

    2. Thank you for helping us approach our anxieties and dark places knowing God is with us and won't abandon us.

  5. As much as I enjoyed your Rosary for Young People and the Way of the Cross throughout Lent, this entry is really what I needed to read. I missed it yesterday and am so grateful that it showed up this morning as a little reminder that Jesus is with me, even in my grief, in my walled up mind, in my darkest hours, in my depression. He will help me if I let him. And I am trying. The light is just around the corner. Thank you for pointing the way.