Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Hopefully by now you are slightly tired of Lent. (If not, give up something more next year?) And that is entirely the point of it: we have not observed Lent for its own sake, but to prepare us for today, to be able to confront that empty tomb, and as John did, have the response of faith. Just like chocolate, or whatever else it may be, we have not given up Alleluias all this time for mere fun’s sake – but instead so that we can now more truly say, Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia, Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia!

Despite this, on one level it seems difficult at first to properly rejoice at Easter. At most other major feasts of the year, the Christian Church celebrates something which God has given to mankind. At the Annunciation and at Christmas we celebrate Our Lord’s coming in the flesh, at the Epiphany and at the Presentation the manifestation of his coming to all nations. At Pentecost we celebrate God’s gift of His Spirit to the Church. Every Marian feast reminds us that he has given the Church a loving Mother, every Saint’s day we are given by him a shining and living example of following Christ. And yet at Easter, the most important day in the Christian year, what is there at first sight to celebrate? An empty tomb? After Jesus being taken away from his friends and led through suffering to his death, even his mortal remains have now gone – the natural response should surely be Mary Magdalen’s when, weeping, she exclaims, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Jesus’s Resurrection does not remove the need for the gift of faith: only the Beatific Vision will do that. Thomas’s experience only shows that too well. But with faith we also receive hope, and can rejoice in that hope. At Easter we celebrate something which the Son has received, rather than us. Yet what he has received is also what we have been promised. Jesus fulfils the promises God made in the Old Testament, and promises something new, which most patriarchs and prophets could have only begun to imagine: Eternal Life, lived with God.

Where does this leave us? We have received faith, we have received hope – most importantly we have received charity. Though God promises us life with him, we should not wait until this one is over to start loving Him. That is for now, and not just for Lent. Too often, particularly when we think of Lent in secular terms, it is easy to treat our observances like New Year’s resolutions, and to view the season as a new beginning. My earlier point stands, though: Lent is merely there to prepare us for Easter, which is itself the true new beginning. And not just in a vague cosmic sense – it is a new beginning for each and every one of us. That is why traditionally, and especially before infant baptism became widespread, the Church baptises its new members at Easter, Baptism being the deepest ‘new beginning’ anyone could ever receive. During the Easter Vigil, we proclaim Jesus as the new Adam, Mary as the new Eve, but in fact it is the whole of Creation which is renewed through him.

So let us rejoice, reminding ourselves that although we do not see him yet, Jesus is truly present amongst us, in the Eucharist, in his Body which is the Church, or wherever simply two or three are gathered in his Most Holy Name, in the Scriptures, in the good deeds he inspires us to do. Turning to his Mother we can say, Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia!

Br Vincent Antony Löning O.P.

Br Vincent Antony Löning O.P.


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