Christ is Risen - Alleluia!
We pray you all are having a very blessed Easter. That's correct - Easter is not over! It has just begun! Although Easter Sunday 2011 is almost history, Easter is in the present tense! I hope you are celebrating the Easter Octave (the 8 days from Easter Sunday through the Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday) and that you will celebrate the Easter Season for the full 50 days. Before entering the monastery I never considered Easter being 50 days long...and here I was fasting for 40 days and not feasting for 50! Of course, that doesn't mean feasting on candy for 50 days - as Sr. Mary Andrea's brothers said they were going to do when I spoke with them about this topic last week! :) Crazy guys...
Of course food is involved but the liturgical feast is literally "out of this world". I hope you will treat yourself and participate in the liturgy throughout the Easter Season.
Getting on with this post...I thought you would appreciate the homily of our chaplain, Fr. Ray Clark.
Fr. Ray's Easter Vigil Homily "I know you are seeking Jesus, the Crucified..."
"I know you are seeking Jesus, the Crucified." This statement of the angel to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sums up your life Sisters. And so I would like to reflect on the statement in the context of the gospel reading from Matthew, and in the context of your life.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were introduced in the Passion account of Matthew. They were there among the women who looked upon Jesus crucified from afar- who had come with Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
Mary Magdalene and Mary were there sitting opposite the tomb, as Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus. And Mary Magdalene and Mary were there at the tomb at dawn on the first day of the week, at the end of the Sabbath. In one sense, their presence was pointless - the tomb was sealed with a stone and guards were stations outside the tomb. It would be impossible to see the body of Jesus.
But they were there.
And because they were there they witnessed great signs...an angel who ascended from heaven and rolled back the stone and sat upon it. At the sight of the angel, the guards fainted, like dead men. And Mary Magdalene and Mary received the good news: Jesus had risen. And they were given the mission to announce to the disciples the good news - that Jesus had risen and was going before them to Galilee.
And as they ran to tell the disciples they encountered Jesus himself on the way...all this because they were there.
The Catholic writer, Flannery O'Connor, once described her discipline: Each morning she sat at her writing desk with a sheet of paper and a pen, so that if inspiration were to come, she would be there.
Sisters, you certainly keep the same discipline, like Mary Magdalene and Mary, you have been here for Jesus crucified, through this Triduum -
You have been present for the Last Supper...
You have sat with Jesus during the long hours of his agony in the garden, his arrest and captivity...
Like Mary Magdalene and Mary, you have stayed with Jesus through his passion and burial, and you have continued to watch at his tomb.
Many are the times when like Mary Magdalene and Mary there may seem to be no good reason to be there, but you are there, as you seek Jesus crucified.
And like Mary Magdalene and Mary, your persistent presence is rewarded, and you encounter Jesus crucified, whom you seek. My guess is that you encounter Jesus not in an earth quake that shakes the world, but in little ways - perhaps a presence that assures you that He indeed lives.
In signs such as bread and wine and water...and light amidst the darkness, signs that He is risen...a promise that He will be with you in all things.
Later this week I hope to post some "behind the scenes photos" from our Holy Week and Easter days here inside the monastery.