Easter, is needless to say, a beautiful season in the liturgical calendar. Nature seems to join in the celebration of life as daffodils and tulips, dogwood and forsythia, blossom and brighten the earth. A true celebration of LIFE! But what does it really mean to you and to me? Outside the pious talk of religion, what does Easter really mean to you? Is there anything different about you now that was not there before Lent? Have you been “reborn” and “rose from the dead?” What is your Easter story?
No I wasn’t resurrected or reborn on Easter. For me, this occurred a few weeks before this year’s Ash Wednesday. I wrote about it in answer to one who was in need of help here on the forum, under Spirituality, with the heading of "Stuck and can’t get over the hump! " No, for me Easter was seeing God’s infinite love embrace my wife as she received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist at this year’s Easter Vigil service. This was the culmination of weeks of RCIA attendance. I watched her faith slowly grow as she read each chapter of the RCIA book and underlined many things that she found of particular importance to her. I felt the immensity of God’s graces as she transitioned from not wanting to attend mass every Sunday, to eagerly wanting to be with me at mass. I heard God whispering in her ear as she began to grasp the importance of prayer in her life; she seldom asked anything for herself, but prayed for others in need. I felt God working through me as she would ask me questions about the faith and spirituality. Finally, though I could not see Him, I felt the Lord’s presence as we both received communion that night. For me, it was one of the highlights of my life.
May God’s blessing be upon you.
To me, Easter means joining in the joy and celebration of Christ’s victory and new life for a season, before returning our focus again to the daily work of repentance and letting our selves die that we might live in Christ. But I’m still trying to figure out how to live that.
During Lent every year, I find I grow greatly through my Lenten sacrifice. This continues through the Triduum, and I do rejoice greatly during the Easter Vigil. Then, before Easter day even ends, I start to feel a “hole” where my Lenten activities were. Rather than feeling like I’m bursting with new life in the Easter season, I feel like the penitential growth of Lent slows down to a halt, and I just hold even until the next Lenten season. I’d rather keep growing even faster throughout Easter.
This year, I’m feeling a strong desire to fill that hole in a way that is uniquely appropriate to Easter, to hold that space open and grow in a different way - one more focused on rejoicing - for a while. I’m also trying very hard to make Easter (and not Christmas) the central celebration of my family’s year, but I really don’t know how. There just aren’t as many rich traditions that I know of. And because the secular world doesn’t celebrate Easter except as a children’s holiday, it’s so much busier at that time of year than at Christmas.
Anyways, I’ve resolved that this year I am NOT going to lose all of my momentum from Lent. I am going to find a way to grow in new life and joy this Easter, and I will bear fruit for God this year. Now just gotta figure out how . . .