April 19, 2020, Second Sunday of Easter

Christ is risen, alleluia! He is truly risen, alleluia! Happy continued Easter to all. Remember, today is the the Octave of Easter. Easter is such a large and important feast that it doesn’t “fit” into one Sunday. It actually flows over into an 8 day period which is celebrated as the very day of Easter itself. What is more, a period of 50 days follows as the Easter season, also known as “Paschaltide.”

This is important! For if you were able to see any bit of the Easter vigil a few nights ago, you would have seen the new Paschal candle, which is the symbol par excellence for the light and resurrection of Christ: the light and resurrection which conquered darkness and death. As quarantine continues, that will be so important to remember, because it puts our current situation into its proper spiritual context. God has conquered all things in His Son, and there is nothing that can overcome us now if we stick to Christ. Just read the New Testament for confirmation!

So how can we remain in that reality? I have been thinking for a while that it could be difficult now that Easter Sunday has come and gone. Our trajectory in many ways was pointing to that day, and now that it is gone it can easily feel like we are just “floating” and without direction. What follows then are some suggestions for how to maintain some spiritual trajectory in this Easter season. I base myself on this passage: “And they held steadfastly to the [1] apostles’ teaching and [2] fellowship, to the [3] breaking of the bread and to the [4] prayers” (Acts 2:42).

    1. Apostles’ teaching. The extra time now can be used to study the faith. Perhaps read some Church documents, books on the faith, etc. The Catechism is a great resource right now (and always) and you can pick a particular part to study and work through. Even more appropriate, read the teaching of the Apostles themselves in the Bible: Acts and the Letters of Sts. Paul, Peter, John, James, Jude. Pick, read, pray!
    2. Fellowship. This one seems most difficult now, but it is not impossible! Modern technology of course helps a lot, but even “old” methods are good now. Video chat and phone calls. Handwritten letters! Whatever method you choose, take some time for “fellowship” with others. Work through your contacts and catch up with people, family and friends alike.
    3. Breaking of the Bread. This is one of the earliest titles for the Eucharist. In our situation, it emphasizes the fact that we must maintain contact with the Most Blessed Sacrament. Of course right now we can’t go to Mass together or sometimes even to the church building, but we can continue watching Masses online and making frequent spiritual communion. Confession if possible is also good now.
    4. Prayer. A daily routine is very important, lest our days become amorphous blobs of endless and agonizing time. Get up/go to bed at the same time everyday. Have set times for work and recreation (good music, art, movies, reading, rest, hikes etc.). This routine MUST include prayer, individually and with family. Reading the Resurrection accounts in the Gospels and praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary would be most appropriate. Lectio divina is a good way to pray, especially right now. Additionally, pray for others (this helps us enter into the fellowship mentioned above, though here in a spiritual way): for those you’ve promised to pray for, for those who have asked for prayer, those who have nobody to pray for them, those suffering and sick, family, friends, personal intentions. Whatever it is, PRAY!

As we continue through this season of Easter and this time of the virus, know of my prayers for you all. I look forward to the day when we can meet again at the altar, but for now, we meet in the teaching, fellowship, Eucharist, and prayer that we share as Christians. May the light of Christ, Risen from the dead, shine in your hearts and in your lives, that you may always have the darkness cast away and see clearly and live fully in the bright light of truth. Amen!

—Fr. Brown

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