The Rising

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM    April 24, 2022

What qualifies as resurrection? Fresh from the celebration of the Easter mysteries in the Christian tradition, I’m holding that question.

A week ago, I planted a small, tender hydrangea bush outside, assured it was safe to dig a hole for its new home. In my tiny garden, a dozen narcissus buds were on the verge of opening up. A peony plant was peeking out from the soil. And then, this past week, the Northeast had an unwelcome and unexpected visitor: two inches of heavy, wet snow, ice, fierce winds, and falling temperatures.

nine koepfer, Unsplash

Like a worried parent, I raced outside ahead of the unseasonal storm to place towels around the base of the hydrangea. I uttered prayers of protection over my tiny garden. And then, when the last snowflake had disappeared and the winds had been tamed, I surveyed the damage. I wiped ice off the drooping heads of the narcissus. There’s hope for you, I said. But oh, the hydrangea seemed to have borne the brunt of the storm. Her small leaves were encased in ice and turning black, her fragile stems were bent and close to being sheared off by the relentless winds. Hold on, I pleaded, come back to life. 

How I wish that were true, that the power to resurrect was in my tool kit! But one of the learnings of many years is that we need to own our inability to save others. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? We want to protect the people, pets, plants, all those beings we love, from harm, from heartbreak, from disappointment, from illness, from tragedy. And still, in spite of our best efforts, the floods surge, the fires rage, the diagnosis shatters, the hearts bleed.

“Where is God in all this?” demanded a person I was accompanying in spiritual direction as she grieved a loved one lost to COVID-19. I had no answers to the question of human suffering then or now, but I’m certain now as I was then about the whereabouts of the Holy One. God was gasping for breath in the isolation ward. Weeping with the bereft. Working feverishly to create a lifesaving remedy in the lab. So yes, even in our deepest, most despairing moments, the rising of the Holy One is unfolding all around us. Ilia Delio asks, “Where is this risen Christ? Everywhere and all around us—in you, your neighbor, the dogwood tree outside, the budding grape vine, the ants popping up through the cracks. We are Easter people, and we are called to celebrate the whole earth as the Body of Christ.”

If we intentionally look for signs of resurrection, we will find them in our time and place. In making care for Earth, our Common Home, a priority, as our planet continues to cry out in pain. In battered hydrangeas and drooping narcissus who are not yet ready to be counted out. In ordinary people practicing extraordinary compassion, kindness, and solidarity in their everyday lives.

When we feel our lives surrounded by the powers of death, may we remain open to possibility, hold onto hope, and discover fresh evidence of rising. The spiritual writer Carlo Carretto confirmed the “everywhereness” of resurrection when he listed for us these seemingly ordinary signs of extraordinary doings:

Gaetano Cessati, Unsplash

When you forgive your enemy
when you feed the hungry
when you defend the weak
you believe in the resurrection.

When you have the courage to marry
when you welcome the newly-born child
when you build your home
you believe in the resurrection.

When you wake at peace in the morning
when you sing to the rising sun
when you go to work with joy
you believe in the resurrection.

Blessings of Easter, and Passover, and Ramadan. May each day find us rising into new ways of carrying the Holy into our world.

Sit in stillness with the Holy One.
Reflect on what you’ve been about this past week.
How have you been a resurrection person, someone who brings life wherever you go?
Give thanks, and carry the blessing of your presence into this new week.

Featured image:  Fumiaki Hayashi, Unsplash

Thank you for holding my IHM Congregation’s elections in your prayer. We now have a new leadership team and we ask you to bless the generous women who will lead us into the days ahead.

To automatically subscribe to receive new posts from Mining the Now: 

Go to the Home Page of Mining the Now ( In the left-hand column above the section marked “Archives,” you’ll see the words, “Subscribe to blog via email.” 

Enter your email address in the space provided and then click on “Subscribe” and follow any prompts. You’ll then be subscribed to automatically receive any future blog posts from Mining the Now. 

Thank you for following!

6 thoughts on “The Rising”

  1. Oh Wow! You are and have been an inspiration, and this week is spectacular. You have planted seeds which will grow, despite the unpredictable spring snows and ice! (Hoping your hydrangea will survive!). Thank you for reminding us to look intentionally for the Resurrection in the signs of hope around us, and even in the moments of deep sadness. Easter Blessings to you, Sister Chris!

  2. Thank you Chris. We need to be reminded over and over and over again that, yes, indeed, Resurrection is all around us-and within each encounter with the other.
    Easter blessings.

  3. Our encounter with Jesus is the encounter we have with Mother Earth and taking care of it and the Poor.
    This is Resurrection. Alleluia!

  4. You are a gift from God to all. Thank you for sharing your SPECIAL spirituality. Reminders of faith, hope and love are needed and you always find the right words to touch my heart. May the good Lord bless and keep you.

  5. So beautiful. It is so true that we are here to console and be consoled.
    Thank you for your beautiful words

  6. But one of the learnings of many years is that we need to own our inability to save others.
    So glad you said this. I am late to the April party but I loved your message that the resurrection reveals in everyday things. Thanks and blessing to you Chris. 🙏

Leave a Reply