Awaken now to life my love,
Arise alive and free,
Shake off the sleep of death my love,
And come away with me.
And she has risen from her bed
And held her arms out wide
And touched his wounded hands and heart
And gone to be his bride.
—Malcom Guite, from Abade
A blessed Easter to you and yours! Having come through the penitential and ascetical season of Lent, through the Paschal Triduum (the Three Great Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) and into the joyful celebration of the Paschal Vigil and Easter Sunday, we are now in the middle of the continuing celebration of the fifty days of the Great Season of Easter, which ends on Pentecost Sunday, June 9. But are we really still experiencing the lingering joy of Christ’s resurrection? For many of us, perhaps most of us, the joy of Jesus’ resurrection fades as the vicissitudes of life obscure the celebration. In the midst of the day-to-day challenges of life, how do we rediscover and experience that Easter joy?
IWS student Kimberly Mandelkow points out an important way to live into the joy of Easter. She writes,
As we receive the embrace of the Risen Christ, and feel the peace and joy of Easter’s baptismal waters wash over us, we can look over his shoulder to those in need, who wait for us with expectant hope. That’s when we realize that the real joy in our lives is putting aside our own faults and failures, challenges and difficulties, and anxieties and fears, and entering into the lives of others.… We are called and sent as Easter People. We find peace in Jesus’ love for us and now we share it with others. We find ourselves standing side by side with Jesus, looking together at those to whom we are being sent to love.That is where the real joy of Easter waits for us.1
St. Thomas Aquinas defined love as willing the good of the other as other. Fixing our gaze on the resurrected Christ conduces to gaining his heart for the reconciliation of his created order, particularly for our fellow humankind, and extending ourselves in love for the other. In doing so, we remain in the joy and divine life of the resurrected Christ. May it be so for all of us.
The Lord is risen!
1. Mandelkow, Kimberly. Conference on “Easter Joy” presented at Reiman Cancer Center, Conservancy for Healing, Franklin, WI. May 11, 2019. My thanks to Kimberly for this perspective and permission to use this quote.
Hero image: “Agnus Dei” by Francisco de Zurbarán.