Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
It is Easter! And He is truly risen! What a gift!
On Holy Thursday, it is family tradition here for my husband to take the older children to the special Holy Thursday service, and when they return, I go out to the church and stay with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament until He is taken away to be reposed in a private tabernacle. It is one of my favorite nights of the year. I am so grateful that I have this alone time with Jesus and I do look forward to be able to spend this night of prayer with Dan one day when the kids are older.
I have always thought of that night as spending it with Jesus in the Garden – keeping Him company. And just like the apostles, I get sleepy, despite my effort of having a late cup of coffee or tea before I go. I still tire. When the priest comes to take the Eucharist out of the church or room, I can imagine the guards taking Jesus out of the garden, away from my sight, on to continue His Passion. And the church is so… empty. It breaks my heart to watch Him go.
I know you might be thinking, “But I thought this was an Easter post.” And it is. Because, this Sacred Triduum was a little different. Many Holy weeks it seems like I am called to stay in the garden, walk the way of the Cross with Him, be at the foot of the Cross, and enter the tomb. There is a sadness that God allows my heart to enter, and truly be with Him in that time of great sorrow. The great sorrow before the rejoicing. This Holy Week was a little different, as I said. My heart got to see all the sorrow, but really entered in to all the hope that was at each step. This Holy Thursday, sitting in an almost empty church, I opened up the gospel of John and read chapter 14-17, as I try to every year. I think it is one of the most beautiful pieces of gospels. This is the last moments He will spend with His followers. He has so much wisdom to share and so little time. I can just imagine being there in the upper room, and Jesus telling us so many, many things, and wanting to remember it all. There is a solemness to it all, and a feeling that things are coming to an end, but not knowing what is about to happen.
I feel these 4 chapters are really a love letter. This year I was struck at how much tenderness and love, and great, great hope that was in His words. Some of my favorite Scripture quotes are actually from these 4 chapters, words I cling to in difficult moments – He shared so much in such a short time. How deep is His love for us.
Some beautiful words of hope from our Lord to us in these few chapters:
“Let not your hearts be troubled.”
“And when I go prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so where I am you may be also.”
“Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do it.”
“If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.”
“I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever.”
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.”
“He who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him.”
“My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Abide in me, and I in you.”
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done.”
“As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.”
“No longer do I call you servants… but I have called you friends.”
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you.”
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”
“I chose you out of this world.”
“It is to your advantage that that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
“You will be sorrowful , but your sorrow will turn into joy.”
“So you will have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take that joy from you.”
“If you ask anything of the Father, in my name, He will give it to you. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
“The Father Himself loves you.”
“Holy Father, keep them in my name, that they may be one, even as We are one.”
“Sanctify them in the truth.”
“In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
He speaks these words to us just before He is about to undertake His Passion and Death. He wants us to know these things. He wants us to keep them in our hearts, and ponder them. He wants us to be filled with hope, to truly be an Easter people.
I pray this Easter season is one of great hope and great joy. It may come as a bursting forth from your heart, or it may be a quiet stirring within your heart. May the Risen Lord be with you now and always.
And for a little dose of joy … our Easter picture.
Out of many pictures taken on Sunday – I like this one best. 🙂
Happy Easter everyone!