Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Matt. 28:5-8.

Okay, so after a week of daily blogging, I’m pretty sure I’ve about run out of interesting things to say.  I never tire, however, of discussing dogs.  I have lived with dogs  since about the age of five.  Most dogs spend the bulk of their lives with a pronounced, undismayed joy.  My dog, Georgia offers the perfect example of this unrelenting, joyful approach to the world.

So, I thought we should at least consider the notion of joy:  a great Christian virtue, a profound spiritual practice, and one of the clear indicia of our faith.  Particularly during the Easter season, we Christians should take a lesson and live like the gate has been left open.  In Matthew’s story of the resurrection, the angel tells Mary Magdalene and “the  other Mary” that Jesus has been raised.  Jesus’ disciples thought they knew how this rotten story ended. When they learned that they were wrong, they left the tomb “with great fear and great joy” and ran to tell Jesus’ followers this good news.

Matthew describes a curious mixture of emotions:  joy and fear, but I suspect that’s exactly what they felt.  They were fearful because they stood on deeply uncertain ground, and this sort of ambiguity would certainly leave one anxious.  They also felt great joy because their rabbi, their Messiah, and their friend still lived.  And so, they ran.  They ran like someone had left the gate open.  You see, that’s exactly what Jesus had done:  He had pried ajar  the gates of hell and flung open the gates of heaven.

In Here and Now, Henri Nouwen wrote, “We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it every day.  It is a choice based upon the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.”  So, my suggestion to you, during this holy season of Easter is “Live like someone left the gate open.”  Jesus has freed us from sin and death, and he left the gate to heaven wide open.

Happy Easter!

James R. Dennis, O.P.

© 2012 James R. Dennis

24 responses to “Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open

  1. Br. James,
    As a dog lover who doesn’t have one [wife objects], I thank you for

    this lovely reflection on only one of God’s many revelations to us through K9s.. Pascal blessings, walt

  2. For our companions who teach us how to live with unabandoned joy and thankfulness for all they receive, thanks be to God. May God grant us the grace to cast aside our fears and leap with delight in the beauty and love that surround us.

    Amma Lera & Henry

  3. So that would be an interesting view of Heaven–playing hard for about two hours a day, being scratched behind the ears for another two hours, and restfull sleep for the balance of the day. From first hand observation, I have no doubt that Georgia considers herself in heaven.

  4. barbaraduffield

    How easy it can be for me to lose sight of the joy I should feel every moment of every day as I live with the knowledge of God’s wondrous love. And how amazing it is that dogs just live that life without having to think about it. I think I’m a bit jealous of Georgia…give her a scratch and a tussle from me!

  5. apocalypseicons

    Most, moster and mostest excellent!

  6. Happy Easter to you as well! I love this post, and am forwarding it onto my favourite dog lover/RCIA coordinator.

    Blessing to you (and any dogs in the vicinity. ;-))

  7. “Live like someone left the gate open”….wow…l can run with that!
    My brother have a great weekend.
    Paul

  8. Charles Fogarty

    I was very busy this week so I didn’t have a chance to read this meditation until today, our beagle’s 15th birthday. She is deaf and partially blind but she still has that wonderful joy you describe. In her own way, our Sunny preaches the gospel to me everyday. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Charles,

      I have had lots of experience with old dogs. Somehow, we can usually see the puppy within them still. Please give my best to Sunny, and tell her I said to “preach on!”

      God’s blessings, my friend,

      Br. James

  9. James, our dogs are a constant reminder of the simple joys of life. I’m pretty sure that if you left the gate open Georgia would be sitting on the front porch when you got home! And don’t forget about Clint (you wouldn’t) because even though his joy is not as exhuberant as Georgia’s it is there as well. What a difference we could make in the life of others if we greeted them the way our dogs do. Well, maybe not actually jumping on them! But showing how happy we are to meet them.

    • Mike,

      Our beasts serve as constant reminders that we were made for joy, and that all the other stuff is mostly just unintended consequences. I think your observation about how we greet others is well taken, and worth trying to incorpotate into our commmon life.

      God’s great peace, my friend,

      Br. James

  10. I am a fellow dog lover myself. Thank you for sharing and also thank you for subscribing to my site Brother James. God bless you and your ministry.~~~Michele

  11. Loved this!!! Thank you for stopping by today, Brother James. God bless you big and often!!

    • I’m glad the piece spoke to you, Arlene. It’s been my most popular post, which has given my dog Georgia a tremendous ego (wry grin).

      Blessings on you and your house,

      Br. James

    • I’m glad the piece spoke to you, Arlene. It’s been my most popular post, which has given my dog Georgia a tremendous ego (wry grin).

      Blessings on you and your house,

      Br. James

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