We are just at the threshold of the new Liturgical season. The Liturgical season of Easter ends and an Ordinary time begins. Let’s reflect on the meaning of it for us Christians.
Jesus, the Redeemer of the world, overcame death and brought us new life. We were reborn in baptism. We are reminded of it during the Easter Vigil when we renewed our baptismal vows.
Easter represents our vocation - God’s calling to the Priesthood, Religious order, family or single life. It is a call to holiness, to attain the goal which the Lord has destined for us, encouraged the novices, Father Richard, first spiritual director of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer (cf. Hérissard, D.: Rekindle the Gift of God that is within You III, p. 45) The Vatican Council II (LG 5) also reminds us that every Christian is called to holiness.
After his suffering and resurrection, Jesus appeared to his apostles for 40 days. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God (cf. Acts 1:3). During that time, Jesus completed the formation of his disciples and prepared them for their mission, which He entrusted to them before his Ascension. Easter time of 40 days represents our formation, growing in the Christian virtues. Father Reichard encouraged the novices to make all possible efforts to acquire the Christian virtues. He compared it to a carver “who goes to the forest and chooses a tree. In order to make a statue of a saint, three has to be cut, carved, chipped, and chiseled until it represents a saint.” He continued, “See, my children, thus God has taken you …, so that your negative tendencies and passions may be worked on and finally you become holy. Each correction, each humiliation you receive is a cut of the chisel by the carver” (III, p. 45). These words of Father Richard can be applied on every status of life. Seminarians and priests are formed by bishops, spiritual directors, and other authorities. In families, married couples and children form themselves with each other by patience, showing respect, etc. The choice of any state of life brings not only joy but also misunderstanding and suffering.
After 40 days, Jesus entrusted his disciples mission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them … And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). Father Richard said similar words, when he taught young Sisters, “Dear children, … you have to go out to the needy to help them. I request of you, do not be afraid; the Lord will help you, and you will marvel at the grace which He will give you, when you remain faithful to Him. He will not let you be tempted. You shall be safe in all dangers and in all situations which you face in practicing your vocation. Likewise all efforts of Satan to hurt you will not be successful. However, you have to do your part. Try to practice in all virtues. What I want to recommend to you particularly: Always try to practice inner prayer and in silence, so that the Lord can work in your hearts” (IV pp. 50-51).
“Behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49). “All devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). Let ourselves be penetrated with the Holy Spirit is the challenge of the final days of the Easter. To pray and to wait for the Spirit of God, who is our model. According to this model we should form our interior and exterior life. This Spirit should constantly and powerfully animate us, that it is expressed in our whole exterior, recommends Blessed Alphonse Marie (cf. IV, p. 38). She continues, “So, meditate on the life and particularly on the suffering of Jesus. Endeavor always to walk in God’s presence and seek to be constantly recollected through unceasing prayer.” Father Richard advises, “Concerning prayer, I want to indicate one way. One who seeks, finds. According to the words of Jesus, the Holy Trinity dwells in such a soul, “If anyone loves me he will keep my words and my Father will love him, and we shall come to Him and make our home with Him” (Jn 14:22). We seek God outside and He is in us! Imagine, the Holy Trinity dwelling in you… Offer all your works to God for the conversion and for the good of humankind” (III, p. 45).
O Triune God! God the Father, you created our world out of love, shape me to your image daily. God the Son, you descended from heaven to redeem us, grant me your grace to avoid sins. God the Holy Spirit, the Love of God the Father and the Son, you were sent from heaven to revive us, consecrate me with your grace so I will be faithful to you to the end of my life. Amen.