instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, April 16, 2006

When Easter comes

Right on time, as scheduled, Easter comes, ready or not. It comes for those who have kept a Lent for the ages, and for those who gave up Lent for Lent. It comes for those who forgot when Easter is this year, and for those who have never even heard of Easter.

But what it means to you when Easter comes depends very much on what you've been doing for the last six and a half weeks. The celebration of a feast by one who has kept a long fast is simply not the same as the celebration of a feast by one who hasn't. The deeper into penance one goes during Lent, the higher into joy one goes when Easter comes.

And if Easter comes, ready or not, so does Good Friday. It is the eleventh hour, when those who have kept a poor Lent, or none at all, might yet enter into Christ's passion and death, and be repaid with the blessings of Easter.

Sr. Mary Martin de Porres of Jesus, OP, prioress of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, speaking on Holy Thursday on the theme, "Christ for our sake became obedient unto death," said:
The antiphon says Christus factus est obediens. In Latin, factus est has both active and passive connotations: Christ became obedient, Christ was made obedient. The phrase can be translated either way and either translation is correct because, as we know, both senses of the word are true. Christ freely embraced our human state, including death, death on a cross: he became obedient. Christ did this by the will of the Father, and in conformity to the Father’s will he endured the suffering inflicted on him by sinful men, even unto death: he was made obedient.

The same is true for us. We will die, whether we like it or not, and when God wills. By our profession we have freely embraced this death in advance and try to live it every day. The measure in which we are faithful is the measure in which we will be ready to embrace the physical actuality when it comes.
And, if I may add to this, it is also the measure in which we will be ready to embrace the spiritual actuality when it comes. Good Friday comes once a year, and then comes Easter. Our own deaths will come once, and then comes the Day that has no evening. What it means to you when that Day comes depends very much on what you did on the days given to you in this life.

The Lord is Risen, Alleluia!