The Faber Community, a collective of young people who have come together with the help of the Irish Jesuits, share their recent activity during Lent and the Easter season. They reflect on the Paschal Mystery and how lockdown has connected the central story of their faith to their own concrete lives. They are supported by a group of young men called the Faber Companions who live together in Dublin in a Jesuit house in Rathmines. Read the report below.
The months between Christmas and Easter were challenging for many of us in the Faber Community. Full lockdown lasted longer than anyone expected, and the cold days turned into a bit of a grind. We were continually uplifted by our regular contact online, and even began a new weekly meeting in February (a ‘writers club’ where community members can share creative projects with one another), but the ongoing lack of personal contact still took a toll. Living together on Leinster Road, the Faber Companions were saved from the more general experience of isolation, but instead faced the predictable challenges of living in close community without the ordinary outlets or wider networks of relationship.
We felt anew the wisdom of Lent’s position in the liturgical year, which recognises the slow, sometimes painful journey from winter to spring, and more broadly from death to new life. Then came Easter and we had a chance not only to celebrate but also to rest, to stall our activities for a week or two and reset ourselves. In perfect time the weather took another turn for the warm, the second wave of flowers began to bloom, the evenings stretched and all things seemed quietly to say once again: Christ is Risen.
Just as quietly, a new vigour stole into our hearts. We looked more openly, more eagerly, on the weeks ahead, and we found new energy for our ministry; for the creative, adaptive challenge of living out Christian community for the 21st Century.
And then last weekend at our Saturday book-club meeting, Comharsana, we spent some time directly discussing the Paschal Mystery. For many of us the realities we touched on then have echoed through the days lived since. We shared about the excitement of Spring and the natural growth and rebirth that surrounds us at this time of year, going on to explore how these rhythms can help us to see the infinite and eternal manifestation of Christ’s death and resurrection, which is unfolding in all things. The Paschal Mystery typically delineates this cycle or pattern in four stages: incarnation > death > resurrection > ascension. And we found that many of us had experienced small deaths in the run up to Easter – of hopes, expectations, of old parts of ourselves that had lingered past their time until the desert of lockdown brought them to the surface.
Looking back, feeling new life, we began to see that lockdown’s struggles had helped us leave behind some of the scripts we’d been living within, thrusting us a little closer to God. It was a powerful and, for many of us, a new experience to connect the central story of our faith to our own lives in such a concrete way. The same Christ who rose at Easter is at work in the daffodils being reborn from their bulbs, and that same Christ is resurrecting us too, each day, as old wounds are healed and a new spirit arrives, helping us to embrace our lives and become our fullest selves.
We were beginning to see the Mystery as a constantly active and unfolding pattern in the everyday; always relevant, new and profound. This moment of resurrection is exciting and reassuring, but nothing about it is static – we move onward now, looking forward to bringing an ascended approach to the last few months of ministry before summer. We remember what we learned in the desert and we invest in rich relationships with Christ and one another, accepting wholeheartedly the Spirit that each day brings.
The Faber Community invite people to subscribe to their emails and join their Zoom sessions. Weekly activities include the open-door book club, collaborative gospel liturgy, guided introspective prayer in Spanish and guided scripture prayer. You can sign up on the Faber Community website ».