Revived, renewed, and refreshed

Happy Holy Easter! We’ve spent 40 days on our Lenten journey, celebrated the holy Triduum and are now basking in the octave of Easter. Now is the time to take a look back so that we can move forward. 

Our Lenten practices are tools that have helped us prepare for Easter as well as revealed an aspect of ourselves that we usually overlook. For those who gave something up, how well did it go? Do you feel that you now have mastery over that or are you so thankful that Easter has finally come that you can go back to enjoying that which you have been deprived? What about those who instead of giving up something, added an extra practice or activity? Does it now seem so routine that you can’t imagine not doing it? Whether it’s giving up social media or being extra charitable in donating, they have all had an effect on us. Some may have faltered, others may have barely braved it out, and still others may have felt they could have done more. We take the opportunity, now that Lent is complete, to identify how our spiritual lives have been stirred. Our Lenten practices, along with the sacrament of reconciliation, revived our spirits and made them ready for Easter.

We can only receive the sacrament of Baptism once, however, each Easter, the Church in her wisdom asks us to renew our baptismal vows. As the sacrament washes away the stain of original sin, being the disobedience of Adam and Eve based on Satan’s twisted encouragement, the renewal of baptismal promises begin with assenting to reject Satan, his works, and his empty promises. We are then asked to confirm our belief in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the articles of faith usually professed in the creed. Having prepared ourselves, we are ready for this renewal of faith.

While it took 40 days to get ready, the Easter celebration lasts for 50; the first eight days are the Octave of Easter, celebrating as if each day is Easter itself, and the remaining days are the Easter season, which includes the solemnities of Jesus’ ascension into heaven and Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. Revived in our spiritual life by our Lenten practices and renewed in our baptismal promises, we combine these to be refreshed in our daily lives, bringing together all that we have learned about ourselves and our faith. We don’t return to the way we were before Lent, but strive to move forward with fresh eyes of faith. We have drawn closer to God and now is the time to continue on that road, rather than letting the little things in daily life distract us away. While we may not be called like the Apostles were to spread the Good News of Christ to other places, we are called to be a witness to what we’ve experienced this Easter. 

The Lenten journey and Easter season bring us to new life each year. Each year we learn a little more about ourselves and our relationship with God. This yearly practice is getting us ready for what’s yet to come: resurrection. As in all things, Jesus leads the way by His example. He IS risen, Alleluia!

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