Our experience of Easter arises from our journey through Lent.
This year Lent seemed very different to me. Last year I don’t remember doing any penance. Normal life seemed hard enough. I just tried to get through the days with a modicum of dignity and self-possession. Ask my husband if I was successful – or maybe don’t! Still, it was a happy Easter.
This year, with more energy and focus I tried to do better. I tried to give up things, gave more time to prayer and spiritual reading, tried to be a bit more generous. Looking back now on Holy Thursday, it hasn’t been a stellar effort either! Still, it will be a happy Easter.
For me, Easter begins with three days of trying to be mindful of the observations and significance of the Triduum while doing the ordinary things of life and getting ready for Easter Sunday and Monday get-togethers with family and friends.
On another level, I try to be there with Jesus in these three days which end with the end of death and a surge of life to life. I try to accept with him my own future physical death and all the painful mini deaths along the way. Then through Friday night and Saturday there is that space of restful watching and waiting which, at an interior level amid unavoidable busyness, I try not to fill.
When Easter morning comes I am happy and grateful of course, but I have not yet experienced the resurrection in the same way as I experience the grief of Holy Thursday night to Good Friday. I know He is within me, but I tend to find him in other places: In the liturgy of the Easter vigil, scripture and the Divine Office, babies and young children, nature, conversations, stories, music, poetry.
This Easter the pandemic is still going, plus a war in Europe and natural disasters. Our own spiritual wars shift frontlines from year to year as well as trudging long worn-out routes.
If we can’t feel the joy of Easter as much as we might want to, we can still be resurrection people. We can still find strength in the promise: “just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it”. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Jesus fell on hard ground and rose again to be with His Father. He has come to me and I hope to rise with him.
May this Easter, whatever is happening in the world and in our own inner worlds, bring us each more fully alive.
Photo at top is my little pot of jonquils making an early start on its spring display.