Have you ever checked out Catholic Pinterest sites? I help edit the Catholic Pinterest board, Awestruck, while the South African owner, Ana sleeps. I was shocked at first when I noticed most Catholic pinners are so focused on Christ’s suffering, they post images of the Crucifixion all through the Easter season, right past Pentecost without pausing even for a moment to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection. I can barely restrain deleting all of them but both Ana and I try to at least present a balanced view of the Catholic faith.
Even though the Church continually invites Catholics to live in the Resurrection, many of us cling to our suffering; we don’t know how to live out the Easter Gospel. As a result, our daily spirituality is focused mainly on the Crucifixion even though we celebrate our release from prison liturgically every year.
The obvious question we must ask ourselves is: “Do I allow Christ to redeem me, to set me free in truth, in the nitty-gritty of my daily life?” It is not easy to actualize our faith, to move beyond mere ritual and lip- service. I know I spent years thinking I was a committed Catholic but I was not living in the resurrection. When we walk through the Triduum with the Church this year, let’s not stop at Good Friday.
In fact, everything that exists and moves in the Church — the sacraments, doctrine, institutions — draws its strength from Christ’s Resurrection. (Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ, 67)
Only when I experienced Christ’s redemption could I experience the resurrection and say with joy, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” We can rejoice during the Easter season; we can be filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost once again.
During this Easter Season, I am grateful for the ever-renewing Life within me which is constantly growing and changing. If I relax and say yes to God, His Spirit sinks deeper into my heart, soul, mind, and spirit.
Pope Francis hit the nail on the head on Holy Saturday a few years ago when he proclaimed the truth that God calls us out of our comfort zone to grow and change. Indeed, Baptism makes us children of God, and the Eucharist unites us to Christ. This must become our very life daily, not just on Sunday.
The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his Resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.” (Pope Francis, Easter Vigil Homily, 2014)
Initially, I resist change out of fear of the unknown but when I let go of anxiety, relax and surrender, I can feel the Flames of Love becoming stronger within me. I crave to join my voice with St. Paul’s and say, “No longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.”
This transformation is simply a normal Christian’s life. St. John Paul II said it best when he described Christians as Easter People. “We are the Easter People and Alleluia is our song.” Catholics don’t stop at the cross but continually allow the power of the resurrection to set us free. Saint Teresa of Avila explains how to experience the Resurrection: “Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.” This process of spiritual transformation ushers in the tangible, infectious joy of the Lord.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Copyright 2019 Melanie Jean Juneau