Happy Easter! Yes, that is not a typo, it is still the Easter season. But Easter day seems so long ago, it’s easy to forget that we are still celebrating
The Church in her wisdom gives us 40 days to prepare for the most sacred time of the year. The celebration of Easter itself lasts for 50 days: the first 40 lead up to the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and then 10 days later, we commemorate Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
It’s interesting to notice how much we relax our discipline after Easter Sunday. Penances like abstaining from meat and fasting are not typical during this season, but why not sacrifice time to go to an additional Mass during the week or take the time to read scripture? Why is it so easy to say that since it’s not Lent anymore, we don’t “have” to go beyond the minimum? It seems to me that the Easter season should be a time to intensify these practices in thanksgiving for this season.
When you look at the Christmas season, most people celebrate from Thanksgiving through either Christmas or New Year’s day, about 30 days. We include Advent in the Christmas celebration although for the Church, they are separate. The actual celebration of Christmas doesn’t begin liturgically until December 25th, but it continues through the Baptism of the Lord, the second Sunday after Christmas. You may have noticed that the parish Christmas decorations don’t usually come down until then. But, by way of contrast, with Easter, we tend to celebrate only one day with a special family meal after the Easter Mass. Is it because Christmas has been embraced more by the secular culture or because we have lost the wonder of the Resurrection?
After participating in the “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” retreat by Fr. Gaitley, I started praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a Novena. I’m on my fourth iteration since Good Friday. It was not my intention to do multiple novenas, but somehow it didn’t seem right to stop saying it. Yes, it does add about another 10 minutes to my morning prayer time, and sometimes it does get pushed to the end of the day. In order to keep the days straight, I’ve had to mark the novena day number in my Magnificat. I don’t know if I will continue after Pentecost, I’ll leave that up to the Holy Spirit to move me!