This year, I want to consciously, intentionally live the whole Easter season. But I don't know how.
I realized this morning that, in my 23 years as a Catholic, I've tended to live Easter as if it is just No-Longer-Lent.
After the intensity of Lent and Holy Week, Easter is - for most of us - a one day feast, not a 50 day season. A one day lamb, ham, Easter egg and chocolate blow-out. With great left-overs. And then it's spring. (Or autumn for those readers in the southern hemisphere.)
And then I go right back to my normal, anxious life that I put on hold in order to make room for the extra Lenten effort. Only now, cause it's No-Longer-Lent, I can have that triple grande mocha latte along with my anxiety.
And I'm going to need that latte as I check in around the Catholic blogosphere. Where many are discussing the whole "crisis within the crisis" thesis. Which seems to mean that Catholics who don't talk as if the world is coming to an end and persist in the virtue of hope are not obedient disciples of Jesus Christ but reprehensible enablers of an imminent disaster such as the Church has never seen before.
What tosh. I've written about this before here and here and here and here. In summary
“I'm not saying that we don't face real crisis today. We do. I'm not saying that Catholics didn't face real crisis in the past. They did.
What is laughable is our assumption that things used to be so much better in some golden era in the past. That the crisis we face are unprecedented and can only be explained by a spiritual calamity the like of which no generation before us has endured. We are so pampered. Catholics have faced crisis in every generation and most historical situations and many of those crisis have dwarfed our own. We have got to get a grip. And a brief dip into real history away from hyperbole of St. Blog's is a salutary slap in the face.”
I'd like to propose an intense and intentional celebration and living of the whole season of Easter right through to Pentecost as one of the best and most fruitful ways to get a grip and restore our hope so that we respond as true disciples of Jesus Christ to the challenges before us. Experiencing and living the reality and power of the Resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit as the first disciples did has always been the ultimate answer to whatever crisis the Church has faced in every generation and every historical situation.
The women in today's reading in Matthew 28 are "filled with awe and great joy" as they run from the empty tomb. And then Jesus meets them. And they fall down and clasp his feet. And he tells them "Do not be afraid".
What if we together dared to immerse ourselves in and then radiate the awe and great joy of the Resurrection? What if we dared to obey our Lord when he says "Do not be afraid." Do I even know what I'm talking about? No - but my experience is that God honors attempts at obedience even when we are clueless.
What if the Catholic blogosphere was filled primarily with stories of awe, conversion, and transformation, healing and resurrection, joy, hope, the Presence of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit for the next 50 days? Not to hide from our challenges but to remind ourselves of how the story ends: that in a truly Christian worldview, the Resurrection is the final word on human sin, corruption, and stupidity.
Would our problems magically go away? No but we would be different and our readers would be different and the conversation would have changed significantly. And I am certain that we’d be astonished at what God would do through our communal act of faith, hope, and obedience.
In any case, here at ID, we’ll be seeking to celebrate the whole 50 days. And we’d love to learn from you how you live Easter and Pentecost.