The biggest Feast of the Church year, the epicenter event of our faith – Easter. I wondered if it was ever going to get here! Lent is like that sometimes, okay, always. The end of Lent approaches. 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. I have to work hard to focus and keep my mind on today and now; don’t think about tomorrow, stay where I am today. That can be a real challenge, but the more I observe Lent and the day at hand these last days, the more joy-filled and poignant Easter becomes. I wonder how Our Blessed Mother didn’t implode and then explode between the sorrow of the cross and the joy of the Resurrection. Maybe she did, that’s why the Spirit left us little news of her those three days and immediately following. He put her back together, after the explosion if there was one, that is certain. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, upon whose writings The Passion of the Christ movie is based, says that Jesus “stayed with her a very long time as her sorrow had been so deep.”
Titanic shifts like this one are mirrored in life. The ultimate one, I think, will be at the point of death, please God. May it mirror Jesus’ Resurrection, not so much in the passion – if He will in His mercy grant us a bye there – but in the glory of heaven. May we wake up one day on the other side to see His Glory in ways we cannot imagine!
But hush, it is not time yet to look at His glory; rather be in the now. Be where your hands are. Receive the grace of the present moment. For a few ways to help your kids stay in the days, our Sisters in the primary grades have found a website with a few ideas at http://eyesonheaven.net/good-friday-activities/ . The Church’s liturgies are obviously a great way to live these days.
Sometimes kids need a little something else to help. When they were kids, the Dunavan Sisters (Sister Mary Fidelis and Sister Mary Agnes) used to have to go pick up rocks for a while on Good Friday. If you don’t have a place with rocks, maybe your child could descend into the tomb and clean out or off the floor of their closet. The Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy are also beautiful devotions.
I’m praying that our hearts may receive well the graces of the sacred time of today. I need to remember the door of my heart opens only from the inside. Yours, too?
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,