Alleluia! Now what?
Did you know that Easter is both an Octave (8 days) and a season (Eastertide is 50 days long!)?
We are an Easter people, as the saying goes, and, as such, we ought to know how to pause in, or stretch out, what really is the center and foundation of our faith… indeed, the very meaning of life, according to Catholics and Christians alike.
If you’re already bored or distracted, or simply out of ideas, fear not! Today, we present some suggestions for extending the Easter spirit beyond Easter Sunday, and for extending the Sunday spirit beyond Sunday Mass.
1. It feels like any other Monday… or Saturday… or…
What if the Resurrection happened in 2017? It would go viral, OBVIOUSLY! How would you respond? Today, on Easter Monday, we are still living the “day” of Our Lord’s Glorious Resurrection. Do we know it? Do we show it?
The restoration of Innocence that Easter represents for us should be a reminder and a happy excuse to slough off our eye-rolling fatigue with the world. We should never be too cool, too sophisticated, too tired or too cynical to rejoice like children. What’s more, we should be just as eager to share the good news, as ready as we’d be to share a viral joke or trending Tweet! We’re talking about the LORD, ALMIGHTY, and the MIRACLE OF MIRACLES here, people!
Revel in the wonder. It should never get old! Remind yourself, and Him, of your gratitude! Thank God – especially during this time – for the wonders He has wrought. He didn’t have to come among us. He didn’t have to suffer His Passion. But He did it for me. He did it for each one of us.
2. Your home has more Easter Bunny décor than holy icons, sacred art, or sacramentals
Decorate, teach, and soak in reminders of our hope! It boggles the mind, not only how beholden we’ve become to corporate brands and propaganda, but – even worse – to stop and realize that we take this as normal and not troublesome. I want Jesus Christ to be my icon. I want a home that oozes sacramentality (not Cadbury chocolate egg filling). If there’s going to be background noise, I want it to be holy echos, not profane corporate intrusions.
Granted, we have to sift through all kinds of kitchy religious art to find the good stuff, but it’s out there. We’ve all seen the giant Paschal Candle that gets marked and lit in our Churches. Did you know we can do the same thing in our own homes? How great, especially for families with children, as a way to connect Sundays and the symbols from inside the Church walls out into the world and into our homes and daily life!
3. You know the words to commercial jingles by heart, but you don’t know any Easter hymns
Similar to #2, but perhaps even more intrusive on our imagination is the power of music. What pops into your mind in the car, at the kitchen sink, etc.?
Sing the Regina Caeli. Pray it! Learn it! This ancient Marian prayer rejoices in the Resurrection of Christ, and is traditionally recited by the Church from Holy Saturday Vespers until Pentecost at the end of the Divine Office. That means you can and should sing it with the Universal Church every day of Eastertide!
I love to sing this beautiful prayer, as singing lifts the heart, aids in memorization, and joins me to the unbroken chain of saints throughout the ages who have, themselves, sung this joyful hymn. As St. Augustine said, “he who sings, prays twice.” We address our words to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to pray for us as we rejoice!
For those who pray the Angelus at 6am, Noon, and 6pm, the Regina Caeli takes its place during Eastertide:
V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray:
O God, Who gave joy to the world through the Resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting Life. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Or, if you prefer, recite it in Latin:
V. Regina Cæli, lætare, alleluia
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia
V. Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es: præsta quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
4. You call it quits after one day, or even after Mass!
Don’t be like this puppy. KEEP WISHING People a Happy Easter!
Us Catholics should be known for our celebratory spirit! I don’t know about you, but boy did I slog through Lent. If I’m going to feel the weight of 40 days of penitence and deprivation, I am going to stretch out the rejoicing on the flip side. This is the fun part, where we get to legitimately and meaningfully and appropriately share the Good News – AS WE LIVE IT. If we can’t radiate the joy of the Resurrection during the very season when the Church tells us to, then we’ve got bigger problems than public relations and it’s time to reassess.
Part of this means doing our own HAPPY work growing our attention spans. The immediacy and forgetfulness that technology and the news cycle inflict upon us is NOT good for our hearts, our mind or our souls. There are painful ways of retraining our habits, but Easter – and EXTENDING the JOY of Easter, should not be one of those painful ways. It is, and should be, one of the FUN ways of living in joy and sharing it.
Obviously, the tone of these suggestions is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. We hope you’ll add some of your own tricks and traditions in the comments! How does your culture, parish, or family celebrate and live Easter, especially beyond Sunday?