These 50 Days of Grace
Easter is a time to celebrate, to feast and to prepare for the mission yet to come
We are now in the Easter Season, when we reveal to the world why our faith is not merely a superstition, but a lived reality. In other seasons of the Church liturgical calendar, we know what to do. We fast for Lent, we put out an Advent wreath and the crèche in preparation for Christmas. There are holidays and holy days which help us journey through ordinary time, so what are we to do in this time between Easter and Pentecost?
This is a luminous season. We celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, several Marian feasts (May 13 and 31 for Our Lady of Fatima and the Visitation respectively) and one for Saint Joseph the Worker on the first of May. If you follow the saint-of-the-day calendar, there’s Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s day on April 27 and a cluster of Doctors of the Church who celebrate their feast days, including Saint Athanasius on May 2, Saint John of Avila on May 9, Saint Catherine of Siena on April 29 and Saint Bede the Venerable on May 25. Part of being a light to the world is being illuminated by those who came before us, who witnessed to the faith and wrestled with the mysteries of loving an infinite God who died and rose from the dead for us. Use these days before June 9 to discover some of the writings of these Doctors.
Our observances during Lent were designed to help us grow spiritually. We never finish needing to go deeper and deeper in, so investigate more deeply some of the devotions instituted by these saints, like the Total Consecration, or the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or Saint Catherine’s Sermons. Alternatively, take stock of how you struggled or didn’t during Lent, and see what God wants you to do now, as an outgrowth of that discipline you started back on Ash Wednesday.
The Holy Spirit often uses our Lenten offerings to clear away the mental and spiritual clutter we’ve collected that prevent us from being better instruments of his grace, better servants to His people.
Waiting in the upper room might be the means by which we quiet our minds sufficiently to hear his voice. Consider adopting a spiritual discipline strictly for this season of Easter. Spend some time with this part of the Gospel, with the Resurrected Jesus, and study up on the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
We prepared for Confirmation once, but go back and read what the sacrament did and what it promises, and consider now what graces were given and how you’ve been equipped for the journey thus far. Take a spiritual inventory of your life to determine which particular gifts you’ve received for the mission. Do you know your mission? Have you allowed yourself to be a servant, directed by the Holy Spirit? If not, Cardinal Mercier’s prayer of submission to the Holy Spirit is a good place to start: “Oh Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.”
Lent was to prepare us for Easter, which is to be how we live our lives, as people who profess the resurrection from that point forward. Easter is a time to celebrate, to feast and to prepare for the mission yet to come on Pentecost.