We Christians are very good at Lent and Easter. We go through Lent giving things up, doing Stations of the Cross, having soup suppers. We participate in our beautiful Triduum liturgies. Then we have a big family supper on Easter Sunday and then we’re done (except for cleaning up all of the dishes from our meal). Although it is true that the Church gives us a 50-day Easter season, we don’t approach it with the attention we do Lent. And that is unfortunate.
It is so important that we spend time geting in touch with a Resurrection spirit. Joseph Tetlow explains it this way:
In his humanness, Jesus triumphed over death. He had embraced everything human without ever acting unfraithful to his Father, to Himself, or to his friends. He had lived his life in uprightness and in joy. Now, He is confirmed eternally in His own joy – to be with the children of humankind….
This is the Jesus Christ who lives now. If you do not come to know Him both full of joy and exuberantly sharing his happiness, then you will not really know Him at all. You have asked in past days to know Jesus and to love Him and to follow where he goes. It is into fullness of life and complete human joy that he goes! If you do not follow him into his joy, you will ultimately find it hard to believe that you are following him at all.
So let’s remember that it is still Easter and take time during these 40 days until Pentecost to be with Jesus in the joy of the resurrection. You might take some time in these coming days praying with the appearances of the resurrected Christ to his disciples.
You might also keep in mind some of the advice Ignatius gives for people in Week 4 of the Spiritual Exercises, which focuses on the resurrected Christ. First, he suggests that as soon as we awake, we recall the atmosphere of joy that pervades these days. Then, throughout the day, he suggests that we try to keep ourselves in a mood which is marked by happiness and spiritual joy. As a result, he suggests, anything in our environment – sun or snow, all of the different beauties of nature – everything we experience – reinforces the atmosphere of joy and consolation. Part of what we are trying to do here is to become increasingly sensitive to those areas of my life and relationships where I experience new life – especially where I experience new life after a time of struggle and loss. That is: resurrection.
However you mark it, remember: It is still Easter!
Note: Last spring, Bill Nolan and I presented a four-week series on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus. If you go to the podcast page and scroll down you will find the links to the podcasts of our talks and the prayer material we gave to participants. You might find those a helpful aid for your Resurrection prayer.