Wednesday, April 23, 2014

it's Easter!

"If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; mind the things that are above, alleluia." 

I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Easter Sunday! 

It's a bit ironic that my last post had to do with silence. Ironic, because I hadn't intended to wait so long before blogging again after writing that! I'd thought I would try to blog my way through Lent - and ended up observing "blog silence" instead. 

That silence was motivated by a couple of things - first, a real - and unanticipated - need to actually be "silent" in terms of social media, limiting my Facebook and blog intake and output, and secondly, the level of crazy and busy that my life has catapulted to over the past few weeks. I'm used to things being at least a little crazy, and I'm used to being more busy than I want to be - but it really has been at an entirely new level for the past few weeks, and it's limited the time I've had for other things. 

No, it's not going to calm down any time soon, that much I can tell, but hopefully I am starting to acclimate to it a bit more. Adaptation, you know. It's important! 

In any case... Lent was truly beautiful this year; Holy Week, the Triduum, and Easter Sunday, so wonderful. It truly is all beyond words; I am inadequate to the task of description, except to say that our Lord is good and loving, and loves us far beyond our imaginings. 

True Easter joy. At home after the Easter Vigil, I found myself unwilling to go to bed in the early moments of Easter Sunday - and sitting in my living room, pondering the Resurrection, and feeling kind of like a kid on Christmas, with the best gift EVER. Resurrection. Easter. Eternal joy. 

Yet all of this Easter wonderfulness has made me think again about Lent. If the point of Lent is to strengthen our discipline and help us to grow closer to God, why are we sometimes so willing to cast aside all of our Lenten discipline as soon as Easter arrives?

Don't worry - I'm not suggesting that you should drop that chocolate bunny you're munching on right now. I'm simply suggesting that, if we who try our best to love the Lord and work toward serving him with pure hearts and minds, have strengthened our wills to do so through our Lenten practices... why do we so easily forget those disciplines when Easter arrives? 

I went to Mass tonight (eh, last night, as I am now posting this Wednesday morning) and when I walked into the chapel, I was immediately struck by how few people were there. Last Tuesday, the chapel was quite full. This evening, only a handful of people were there. 

Lent is over, I get that. What I don't understand is... Easter is here - so why did everyone leave? If we go through 40+ days of Lent, trying to grow stronger in our walk with God, why are we so willing to give up those things that helped us grow in strength, just because Lent is over??

It's EASTER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. The season of the Lord's resurrection. Shouldn't we still be filling our churches on the weekdays, coming to receive the Eucharist, seeking that sacramental food that strengthens and sustains us? The Eucharist - truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - is transformative. 

Do we really understand what we were doing during Lent? Why do we work to be close to the Lord for 40-ish days, and then drop the routine and go back to business as usual? 

(Note: yes, of course, I realize not EVERYONE does this... but I also realize that there are plenty of us - myself included - who have done it before!)

Lent should change our lives, should alter our way of life. I'm not saying you should give up caffeine or chocolate permanently. What I am saying is, we shouldn't only pursue self-mastery and a deeper relationship with the Lord during Lent. I think we all need a sense of Lent in our lives, all year long - because until we pass from this life to the next, we haven't run the race, we are still competing. Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said it well:

"If a man is ever to enjoy communion with Christ, so as to have the blood of God running in his veins and the spirit of God throbbing in his soul, he must die to the lower life of the flesh. He must be born again. And hence the law of Calvary is the law of every Christian: unless there is a Cross there never be the resurrection, unless there is the defeat of Calvary there will never be the victory of Easter, unless there are the nails there will never be the glorious wounds, unless there is the garment of scorn there, will never be the robes blazing like the sun, unless there is the crown of thorns there will never be the halo of light, for the law laid down at the beginning of time which shall be effective until time shall be no more, is that no one shall be crowned unless he has struggled and overcome."

Alleluia! Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever! 


4 comments:

  1. Well said, sister! I've missed reading your thoughts and visiting about them. Praying adaptation for you comes with peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Amy :)
      Peace in the midst of the storm...

      Delete
  2. Very well said indeed! This is just how I feel about Easter. As a former Protestant convert to the Faith, it was hard at first for me to accept that Easter is a much more important holiday in the liturgical calendar than Christmas, but boy, once I got it, I GOT IT!

    At my parish, I struggle with being one of maybe 15 members of the community between the ages of 18-40, and I never know how to best influence my elders with Easter joy and other helpful hints. Any suggestions? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, thank you for your kind words! I pray you are having a truly blessed Easter season!

      There are definitely an awful lot of "cradle Catholics" who don't at all understand the primacy of Easter in the liturgical calendar. It's interesting, because the Easter season is so much longer than the Christmas season - but few people seem to consciously notice that the Easter season goes on for 50 days. Maybe it's partly because Christmas is more culturally acceptable in our anti-religious culture?

      I think it's also partly because of the era of poor catechesis the Church experienced, post-Vatican II (though hopefully, we are recovering from that now). It seems to me that some of those who are our elders in terms of age, were victims of this poor post-VII catechesis - and as a result, missed out on learning the real depth and beauty of the Faith.
      Finding ways to help them understand things in a new way can be so hard - particularly when they don't quite understand our enthusiasm - and are sometimes even resistant to it. The only tried and true remedies I can suggest are to keep praying for them, and to continue exemplifying that Easter joy. :) I think those are two of the hardest, too, because they require the most patience (which is something I often lack!).

      I looked at your blog this afternoon, after I read your comment - look forward to reading more of your thoughts!

      Delete