Rejoice! He is risen! Alleluia!
After the Lenten journey, we enter the very serious business of celebrating the Easter joy and resurrection of Our Lord. There aren’t strict “rules” for entering into the festivities of Easter, but these are five suggestions I want to make to help you live this new liturgical season (particularly the Easter Octave) with the zeal it deserves.
Pray (or sing) the Easter Sunday Sequence each day of the Easter Octave
For eight days, the Church relives the feast of Easter Sunday. Enter into this great, continuous joy by praying the beautiful prayer from the Easter Sunday liturgy. It helps remind us what (and Who) we are celebrating.
Choose an extra day to go to Mass
Sometimes we get the idea that if penance means praying more, feasting means praying less. As followers of Jesus Christ, let’s dispense with the terrible idea that prayer is any form of punishment or due we must pay. Being in relationship with God means we communicate with Him and have a growing desire to do so. During this Easter Octave, choose an extra day to go to Mass and praise Him for the glorious gift of His resurrection and the offering He makes to you of eternal life with Him.
Join (even belatedly) in the Divine Mercy Novena
St. Faustina, through a series of private revelations from Jesus Christ, received the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Several years ago, I remember praying this chaplet and realizing the greatness of what the prayer was asking God to do for us. It asks God the Father, by virtue of us offering Him the Son we killed, to have mercy on us and the entire world. Whether your Easter seems bright and sunshiny or a bit bleak and sad, we can join together in praying for mercy for a world still so in need of conversion. This novena traditionally begins on Good Friday (but start today, if you haven’t already!) and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday.
Buy a bouquet of flowers
How did your church look at the Easter vigil or on Easter Sunday? Overflowing with flowers? Sometimes it can help to invite the practices of the church into our domestic church. Buy a bouquet of particularly lovely flowers (for the Lord!) and place them in a prominent place in your home to help remind you of the new season, new joy, and new life in the Lord!
I mentioned at the beginning that celebrating was serious business. I wasn’t entirely joking. The Church doesn’t make the Easter season longer than Lent because we simply prefer to rejoice rather than fast. Instead, it helps us keep in mind that this spirit of joy and new life is something we hope to do forever in Heaven. So….bake and decorate a beautiful cake and share it with friends. Invite some people over for a meal (or a potluck). Go out for drinks with friends. Plan a date night with your spouse. Take your kids for a picnic in the park. Whatever helps you celebrate and feast, intentionally make time during this Easter season and enter into this joy.