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Easter Grace

On Easter Sunday many of us are tempted to let out a sigh of relief when the “alleluia” resounds in the Liturgy—for the days of penance, abstinence and fasting are complete. Indeed, we should rejoice and bask in the rays of the Resurrection as the grace of Easter falls like dew upon us. However, let us not be startled if the “Easter grace” is manifested internally in unexpected ways such as dryness, unrest, fear, anxiety and a restless yearning. The forty days of Lent were not spent in preparation for Easter Sunday but rather the Easter season.  The Catechism reminds us that asceticism and mortification lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes (2015).  The readings of the liturgy during the Easter season invite us to live close to the first apostles and disciples and witness in their lives how we are to bear the title “Christian.” To be a follower of the Risen Christ is not for the fainthearted for the seal of the cross is firmly imprinted upon the brow of His chosen followers. Dare to enter the Upper Room, with them during this season (John 20:19-31) and experience the purification of love as He breathes forth the Holy Spirit in each appearance. His arrivals in the Upper Room or on the seashore in Galilee (John 21), are as elusive as His departures. The days between His appearances to the apostles were spent in isolation, seclusion, doubt, and wonder as they struggled among and within themselves. The breathing forth of the Holy Spirit—fresh life into the nostrils of their souls—was not a mere moment of peace but rather the purifying fires of God’s spoken word.  “Indeed, God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed from him; all lies bare and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account” (Hebrews 4:12-13). The chalice of their hearts was being cleansed from sin and refined like gold in the furnace to receive the outpouring of Love on Pentecost. It was in the Upper Room where Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to forgive sins and restore interior peace and harmony. During these days of the Easter season, let us bask in the rays of the Resurrection and expose all that lies bare in the “Upper Room” of our hearts, so that Christ may come into our midst and say, “Peace be with you.”

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