ESTACIO: The Lord is risen indeed!

April 14, 2020

Put away the sackcloth and ashes. Break out the Easter eggs and bread. Easter is a time to celebrate and feast because Jesus Christ has risen indeed, and He has appeared to Simon (Luke 24:34).

Our Mother Church invites us to be renewed and transformed through prayer, fasting and giving alms during the Season of Lent. She calls us also to celebrate and feast because God sent His only-begotten Son for us. After three days, the Son rose from the dead, and through the Sacrament of Baptism, we share in His resurrection. 

Our Mother Church desires for us to bask in the joy and power of the resurrection so much that we are given not one day to celebrate, but 50 days. The first eight are known as the Octave of Easter. It begins from Easter Sunday to the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. On this day, we are reminded of the Father’s abundant love and mercy for us. The 50 days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in joy and exultation as one feast day.

I know it can be a challenge for some to find God in the midst of this pandemic. It may be difficult to pray or even have a relationship with Jesus Christ right now. Easter reminds us that the Father never gives up on us; the cross was not the end. We cannot forget the Son was victorious over sin and death! This is cause for us to rejoice even amidst our suffering. The hardships do not go away, but we know and believe that the Son is present and with us precisely in the middle of our suffering. While happiness is a fleeting emotion, joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and evidence of one living a life with the Son. Right now, it may be a life of tears, anger, frustration, or fear. Bring those trials, tribulations and emotions to Him. Beg the Son for His mercy, and wait for Him patiently and joyfully.   

The Son reassures us, “I am love and mercy itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted — it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.” (St. Faustina’s Diary, 1273)

We all have been given a great opportunity to pray and spend time with our families while at home. We may not be able to celebrate Easter like before, but we can still rejoice in some new and different ways.

Ideas to Celebrate the 50 Days of Easter:

  • Share a nice meal with your family. Set the table and feast! Everyone can go around and share what they are grateful for. This can happen throughout the Easter season, not just on Easter Sunday.
  • Video conference with your families and/or friends to share a dessert together. 
  • Call your neighbor or someone you know who is feeling down. Simply being a caring and listening presence can lift their spirit. If you feel called, pray with them.

Even though our parishes are closed, the Church is still alive in our homes. Continue to pray as a family, and seek ways to creatively evangelize while adhering to the directives of our local officials.

Ideas to Pray:

  • Recite the Rosary nightly.
  • Say a Spiritual Communion prayer whenever.
  • Pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the morning after breakfast and after dinner
  • Learn how to do a daily Examen.

Ideas to Evangelize (Safely):

  • Tithe online to your local parish or to an organization that serves the poor.
  • Pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor; drop the bag on his/her doorstep.
  • Start a spiritual book club or a Bible study online.

We will eventually get through this. This main question is how we do it. First and foremost, serve, love and pray with those in your home. Will this pandemic divide or unite your family? Check in on each other weekly. Communicate with one another. Share if you are stressed or depressed and are in need of some help. Of course, pray as a family daily.

Our Lord suffered and experienced hardships that led to the cross. We may still be in a state of instability or anguish, but we do have reason to be joyful. Jesus Christ truly rose from the dead; the tomb is empty. We can trust that He is with us in our suffering and uncertainty. Let us have faith in Him, and continue to persevere in prayer with our families.

The Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization is still working hard to serve the parish leaders, young people and their families.

Email if you need any assistance or resources at this time. Please know our office is suffering with you, and praying for your family.

Let us pray the words of St. John Chrysostom, and rejoice during the Easter Octave and Season:

“Christ is risen, and you, O death, are annihilated!
Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life is liberated!…
To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!” †

Dunn Estacio is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.