Those who remember Fr. Ryland from his days at St. Peter’s will immediately think of his bright smile as he celebrated Mass, and his beautifully crafted homilies. The joy that he exuded as he truly became in persona Christi and brought heaven to earth in the Eucharist. He has passed from our sight, yet remains with us still in spirit. And in his teaching. At CUF, we are so grateful that we have several of his homilies on file, including this one from the 5th Sunday of Lent in 2008.
Imitating Christ as he spent forty days in the desert praying for the grace to undergo his passion, we too, spend these last weeks of Lent preparing to focus on His betrayal and death. Yet that is not the end of the story. For Christ, or any of us. Because it is through death – laying down our lives – that we reach life. And not a life that will pass away, but life Eternal. As Fr. Ryland so succinctly put it:
We ordinarily speak of this world as the “land of the living,” but in fact it is the land of the dying. We’re all dying, moment by moment, day after day. But by God’s grace we’re also preparing for life in the land of the living, the eternally living.
We pray and trust that Fr. Ryland is now in that “land of the living”, the land towards which we all strive every day.