Easter: A Season of New Life

Br. Michael Perras, ofm

St. Francis of Assisi in his “Praises of God” prayed, “You are our hope, You are our faith, You are our charity, You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life.” These beautiful lines of prayer speak to the depths of this Easter Season. St. Francis trusted in new life and knew God was the source of this new life. It is why as his life was ending, he was able to prayer, “Praise to you my God for Sister Death.” He trusted in the promise of the Resurrection. He was able to surrender into “My God and My All” who was his hope, faith, charity, sweetness and eternal life. This is the anchor of Easter, our Savior Jesus died entrusting his all into God and God raised him from the dead so we may know the fullness of eternal life. St. Francis trusted in this promise. Do we? As we face the challenges of life, the setbacks, the little deaths, the brokenness and the letting go, do we trust our Risen Lord is with us as our hope, faith, love and life?

Mary Magdalene had to, so did Thomas, John, Peter and the Emmaus disciples. In the Easter weeks ahead, we will hear of the early church community which formed after the Resurrection. They too needed to trust the Risen Lord was present with them in the stories they shared and in the blessing and breaking of bread. The first believers are encouragement for us today. The chaos of their world is still the chaos we see in our world; we must be attentive to the Risen Lord in our midst in the simplest of ways.

As the Easter weeks unfold, we hear Jesus described as the Good Shepherd, and the True Vine. Images we can appreciate during this springtime. Images which remind us to pay attention to how the Risen Jesus is woven into the ordinary of our lives. The Risen Lord guides us as his flock. He desires nothing more than for us be a community gathered around the gift of his Risen Life. We are also to grow and produce fruit which shows the world we believe what we profess in our baptismal promises which we have just renewed.

Later in the Easter Season we will be reminded of how Jesus showed us God’s love and how he has asked us to show this love for one another. Christ chose us and if he chose us then the way we show who he is and his love in our lives matters. How in this Easter Season can we be concrete expressions of his love? How can we offer the hope of Easter to someone? In what ways can we encourage new life in our relationships and community?

Weeks from now at the end of the Easter Season, we will hear the beautiful promise of Jesus being with us until the end of the ages and the gift of his Spirit to us. The gift of his Spirit activates in us praise and entrusts us as heralds of his hope, faith, charity, sweetness and new life. Let us be these heralds this Easter Season!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Easter Peace!

 

This will be the last post for a several weeks as I take time to work on some new projects and rest.

Thank you for journeying with me through Lent and into Easter. God bless you.

 

Photo credit: Suzanne D. Williams

 

 

 

 

Awe: The Gift of Easter

 

Br. Michael Perras, ofm

 

Awe is described as a feeling of reverence and respect mixed with wonder. Does this not describe the Resurrection with the encounter of the empty tomb, meeting the Risen Lord and being sent on mission to tell the Good News? Awe fills us at many moments of our life. It need not be fleeting rather it can be a constant gift which reminds us we are people of Resurrection each day.

Being able to appreciate springtime sunrises often fills me with awe. Seeing a crocus spring up after the winter does as well. So does hearing my name called in a distinctive way. Creation and relationships have ways of gently calling us to be filled with awe. Do we allow ourselves to be touched by awe? Have we moved into “survival mode” or a dull routine where the celebration of Easter has become just another part of the calendar year? Easter launches the 50-day season, an invitation to let awe be a gift to move past survival and routine. It may begin with something as simple as our name being called or in the way we call another’s name.

We hear our name called thousands of times over our lifetime, when we hear it for the first time in a new way we are filled with awe. The first time I heard my name combined with Uncle or with Friar made me pay attention and take note. I was filled with awe. When Jesus called Mary Magdalene on Easter morn, she heard her name in new way and in hearing it she was awe-filled but also called and sent. She was by name sent as the Apostle to the apostles to announce to them, “Christ is Risen… I have seen him!” We too are called and sent, not only in this Easter Season but all the days of our life. How does our daily living reflect the Resurrection? How do we call others by their name? Do we leave them feeling regret or awe?

Catholic journalist Philip Kosloski reflecting on the life of St. Francis of Assisi said, “A life lived authentically rooted in the Gospel has more power than any king or earthly ruler and will endure for all eternity.” This is at the core of our Easter awe and living. It is at the core of our name being called by the Risen Christ. This is not just for St. Francis and the countless saints we honor, it is for us, today, here, and now in 2024. We, the saints of today, the People of the Resurrection for our time and space are called and sent. May our lives be a witness of the gospel and lead others to know awe truly is a gift still accessible to us even today. We do this when we embrace how reverence, respect and wonder aren’t obscure gifts rather they are daily gifts because of the Resurrection of Jesus. We are claimed in baptism, we are called to live the gospel authentically (which means always learning and growing from it) for we are witnesses of the Resurrection. Let us be willing to be filled with awe and then fill our part of the world with awe, it will make a difference just like the Resurrection does each day.

 

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Easter Blessings!

 

Photo Credits: Dominik Scythe and Ashlee Marie