Tag Archives: Easter

Easter as a Verb–from THE BEST OF BEING CATHOLIC

The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins uses easter as an active verb, asking the Risen Lord to “easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east…” The context of the quote is important: from “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” a poem where Hopkins struggles with the news that five Franciscan nuns have drowned in a storm at sea. We who are no strangers to such disasters recognize the situation he describes: “Hope had grown grey hairs, Hope had mourning on…”

If we deny such glumness, if we’ve never seen hope clothed in black, we fail to understand why Easter is such a gift. Perhaps it is only out of dark desperation that we can turn to the Resurrection and fully appreciate the potential for Christ himself to “easter in us.” Like the clueless disciples trudging to Emmaus, we ask him, “Stay with us…” (Luke 24:29)

That is our prayer in whatever dark trench we find ourselves. If we too have lost hope, enthusiasm or even interest, it doesn’t seem to bother him. Somehow, he rekindles the dormant spark so it becomes an inner flame. He gladly joins a long walk and conversation, winding it up, typically, with a meal.

The message is kept alive by a community that walks and eats together, shares stories and stakes everything on this one wild hope. We agree with the poet Alice Meynell that our planet “bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave” (“Christ in the Universe”). Those who follow Jesus believe that he is our resurrection and life—not in some rosy heaven or distant future, but right here, right now.

Scripture scholar Luke Johnson explains that the Christian’s memory of Jesus is not like that of a long ago lover who died and whose short time with us is treasured. It’s rather like a lover who continues to live with the beloved in a growing, maturing relationship. Past memory is constantly affected by the continued experience of the other in the present. So the church’s memory of Jesus is affected by his continuous and powerful presence. Jesus comes to life again and again, just as he did for Mary, Peter and John that grey morning near the tomb.

Because of his life in us we can be vulnerable and weak in a world set on power and ambition. He brings intimacy to the lonely, peace to those in turmoil, strength to those weakened by illness. As he did during his life on earth, Jesus heals those in pain, welcomes those in exile, restores dignity to those in desperation, and comforts those who sorrow. He assures us all, “I created you for everlasting life. You are too precious to ever let you die. You will live forever.” For the frightened, discouraged, hesitant person in each of us, Easter spells life, love, and hope.


Easter Season: One of the Best Parts of Being Catholic?

By Blog Editor

Easter is not just celebrated on Easter Sunday, in fact, the Easter Season is 50 days, and in Kathy Coffey’s latest book, The Best of Being Catholic, she writes why Easter is so important to Catholics.

The Best of Being Catholic has three sections:

1) The Beliefs We Cherish

2) The Seasons We Celebrate

3) The Company We Keep

In Chapter 13, which is focused on Easter, Coffey explains that it can be helpful to separate the religious meaning of Easter from all of the “cultural accumulations”

This happened experientially for me one year when Easter brought snow and sickness. Without lilies, bunnies, bonnets, egg hunts, pastels, or yellow marshmellow chicks, this was the Acid Test of the feast. In a friend’s mountain home, sniffling, coughing and watching dreary weather, would the message of resurrection still hold?

Indeed it came powerfully, through a totally unexpected channel: clearing skies and sunlight gradually stroking the mountaintops. What had been grey fog parted to reveal luminous peaks, emerging slowly. It echoed the absence and presence/hidden and revealed/hide and seek themes of this season. The resurrected Jesus may be unrecognized or invisible, but is still with his friends in a less physical way.

If there had been musical accompaniment, those mountains streaked with sun would’ve invited the Alleluia chorus, belted loudly. The mountains unfurled banners of good news: granite heavily grounded, yet airily sweeping the skies. While it’s not our traditional image, a healing sleep without coughing fit Easter nevertheless: joy unexpectedly found in the midst of sorrow.


Darkness and Light: A Reflection on Good Friday

By Blog Editor

Kathy Coffey was recently featured in the March 2013 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.  Coffey writes about Good Friday, and the role that acknowledging suffering can play in Catholicism:

Many wise traditions know the importance of naming one’s loss or sorrow because suppressing it only makes it worse. Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh suggests cradling our broken hearts as tenderly as we would a sick and crying child.

In a particularly Catholic way, an abstraction such as “suffering” is translated to tangible, visible word and gesture in the liturgy. Furthermore, it links our individual stories and struggles concretely, not just verbally, to the overarching story of Christ’s redemptive suffering.

To read the rest of “Darkness and Light: A Reflection on Good Friday,” visit the March issue of St. Anthony Messenger.