Easter is always a joyous feast that goes from the low of Good Friday to the heights of Easter and the repercussions of the Resurrection of Christ. Sad that my sins required such a response, but so glad all the same to still not be in my sins and that they could be forgiven.
For most of my life Easter was just a distraction. Nothing to really look forward to. Sure hiding eggs for your kids can be fun, but the secularism of Easter can not hold a candle to the truth of Easter. Mostly I would just get annoyed that so many stores closed on Easter.
Easter now as a Catholic is another story. The preparation of Lent is such a good reminder to the build-up of the Easter season which runs to Pentecost. Though I am still working towards realizing the full sense of Easter. It is way too Easy to see Christmas as the greatest feast when really the penultimate feast is Easter. The Feast of the Incarnation marks an important part of the path for our Messiah, but that birth was marching towards the Crucifixion and Resurrection from the beginning. Since the culture also really emphasizes one feast over the other it is just too easy to forget the full ramification of Easter. As a child and budding materialist the materialism of receiving gifts was up my alley and I liked the various Christmas traditions and their trappings even if I had no idea who Jesus was. As an adult I am more excited about Easter and the fact that my sins could indeed be forgiven. I whole-heartily echo Chesterton’s answer on why he became of Catholic, “To get rid of my sins.”
The part of the Easter Vigil where the lights come on and we for the first time since before Lent sing the Gloria still brings tears to my eyes. I like going to the Easter Vigils because of the baptisms of the catechumen and the reception of the candidates into full communion with the Church. This year I was surprised by the rather large groups of both catechumen and candidates, I believe the most I have seen in my parish since I came into the Church 11 years ago. The parish administrator made a point about people entering the Church despite the massive onslaught by the media to attack Catholics at every turn. What Fr. Richard Neuhaus called the long Lent after the breakout of all the priestly abuse scandals in the United States has turned into a longer Lent as it extends in Europe. Jesus stills calls people into the Church despite the noise of society as he will always do.
I am not really a Bill O’Reilly fan, but I saw something today that he said that I mostly agree with.
A number of Catholics have left the church because of the priestly sins, but not me. From the beginning, in Sister Claudia’s first grade class, I understood that the Catholic Church was about Jesus, not Father Flannery. Believe me, I saw so many loons in my Catholic school days that I should be a Buddhist. But it is the theology, not church leadership, that keeps me in the fold.
Well while I do love the theology in the Church, it is Jesus that keeps me in his Church. Besides I don’t want to wear Jesus out by having him continuously go out and find me and carry me back on his shoulders.
I came into the Church after listening to Catholic Answers and reading tons of material both on the Church and the news of the Church’s members in present times along with the past. I knew full well the problems in the Church and that I was not entering a perfect Church staffed with nothing but saints. Otherwise they would not have let me in. While I am certainly scandalized at times by those who profess the faith, my faith can not be shaken by them. I can understand how some can be so scandalized as to leave the Church, but I answer with “Lord, to whom shall we go, You have the Words of Everlasting Life.”
Still I rejoice to see those coming into the Church and I am always so curious to want to know them and to hear their stories of how the Lord brought them into the Church. While there are often a lot of common threads, each story is a unique one.
I wish each and every one of you a Blessed Eastertide and the joy that comes with it.