THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Easter Sunday

1 April 2018

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Dear Friends,

The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Pasch and coincides with the passage of the Israelites out of the slavery of Egypt. The Israelites left the bondage of Egypt to cross over to the Promised Land. Jesus left death and the tomb to cross over to everlasting Life. In our own lives we are called to imitate these passages. We are called upon to leave the slavery of sin and enter into the Promised Land of Heaven. We are called upon to rise up from the death of sin to eternal life in God.

It is not enough to celebrate today's feast with chocolate bunnies, boiled eggs, and jelly beans. If these things have no spiritual meaning for us, then they are simply a waste of time. Most likely they become worse than a waste of time, because they become obstacles to our passage from vice to virtue.

All things are good, if we use them well. We have just finished our Lenten fast and have denied ourselves the enjoyment of many things. We did this not because these things are bad or evil, we made a sacrifice of these good things to God, because the only acceptable sacrifice is of good things.

Abstaining from sin and vice is not truly a sacrifice. It is a purifying of our hearts and minds. Turning away from sin is like turning away from darkness and nothingness. In turning away from darkness we enter into light; in turning away from nothingness we turn to everything. We find Light and Everything else in God.

The food and candies of the Easter season are good, and they become even better when we attach to them spiritual significance and symbolism to draw us ever closer to Jesus. The baby animals as well as the Spring season should lead us to the idea of birth and renewal. The Easter eggs help us to reflect upon this birth because the baby chick comes forth from the egg. Also we can think of Jesus rising out of the tomb. The chocolate and candies remind us of the sweetness and goodness of God. These things give us a quick source of energy in our bodies, and so they should remind us of the Sacraments that are sweet and give abundant spiritual energy to our souls.

Sadly, many go from the fasting of Lent to the feasting of Easter, without any spiritual reflection or growth. They cannot or will not rise above the material body to the life of their souls. Our admonition and prayer is that we refrain from making this fatal mistake.

The holy women came early to the Tomb of Our Lord with sweet spices. The Fathers of the Church tell us that these spices are symbolic of our virtues and good works. During the season of Lent we have accumulated a small treasure of virtues and good works, and now we are to bring them to Jesus. However, Jesus has risen and we must remain in possession of these sweet spices. God has no need of these, but we do.

We must seek especially in these days the grace of perseverance. Mary came to the tomb early and she remained after the others had departed. It was her perseverance in virtue that privileged her to be the first to see Our Lord risen from the dead. Too often our prayers and our entire spiritual life are like flies buzzing here and there. We are attracted for a while to the sweetness of grace and virtue, but soon we are once again returning to feed upon rot, stench and decay. We must strive to hold on to these sweet spices and carry them with us throughout our lives here on earth and present them to Jesus when we leave this world. We must strive to never return to the stench and contagion of sin.

With Jesus we have passed from death to life. We have risen from the tomb of sin to the life of grace and virtue. We now must persevere to the end in this life and virtue, and never return to sin and death.

Having confessed our sins and put off the old man in fasting and abstinence, it is now time to receive into our bodies the Spiritual nourishment of the Bread of Life in Holy Communion. Jesus has risen from the tomb, and today He is desirous of rising up in us too. We are the Temples of God; we have cleaned and prepared it for Him, let us receive Him with welcoming hearts that are resolved never to ask Him to leave again. (It is through sinning that we not only ask Him to leave, but we drive Him from us.) If we persevere in this grace of Christ living within us, our hearts will be truly filled with joy and we will have solid hope of living eternally in Him.

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