The whole liturgical year points to this Easter. I wondered if it was ever going to get here this year! Lent is like that sometimes, and when Lent is late it is true even more so. The time between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil requires a colossal liturgical mood change. While the change happens overnight it is important to live in the present moment. Don’t let your mind go ahead to the day ahead, stay where we are. That can be a real challenge, but the more we observe Lent and the day at hand those last days, the more joy filled and poignant Easter becomes.
Planning ahead in such a scenario when we need to focus on the present moment can be challenging. So often we need to plan ahead, yet we can miss the grace and experience of the present moment if we are not here, now. I’ve got a friend who plans ahead very well. That is quite important and more often than not a real virtue. There is only one point at which we can receive grace. That is the present. Sometimes we look ahead too much, or look back too much. May the Lord increase our ability to receive the grace of the present moment.
As we understand how the grace of the present moment works within, I am reminded of a professional article I read last week. In the NCEA publication (which is at home so I cannot properly reference it), the neurological functioning of the developing brain is presented. The adolescent brain has some unique characteristics as it develops, one of which I found particularly interesting. When in groups of people, certain things which are normally enjoyable are escalated significantly by being together with other people. Some of that moderates with age, but it rings so true to what I see among young people. Peer influence is not simply a social issue. We are discovering physiological reasons to add to the unique mix called adolescence. Sometimes I wonder if that is good news or bad news. It must be good, as the truth will set us free. We can learn to understand each stage of development better and learn how to work with the children at that stage.
Shift back to Easter. It follows then that the goodness of Easter is compounded and heightened by the communal celebration of it both liturgically as well as in the family gatherings that occur afterward. When we enjoy it together, that which is good becomes even better. I am reminded of a line my Grandfather, who went to God long ago, said frequently when a group of us would be there for dinner, “the more people who are here, the more you enjoy and the more you eat.” Grandpa was far from being a psychologist, but he knew something more was at work in the joy of family gatherings. As we are tempted toward fragmentation of the family, may we take advantage of the unity within and the formation that happens as we are together. May the One who blesses us all continue to do so and help us become more aware of those blessings. He is Risen Indeed.
With Him in the Resurrection, interceding for you,