Overcome With Paschal Joy: Living in the Fullness of Grace
Alleluia! He is risen! Are you still overcome with Paschal joy?
Nearly every day at Mass during the Easter season, if we pay close attention, we hear those words during the preface of the Eucharistic liturgy: “…overcome with Paschal joy…” So how come many of us feel more relief that Lent is over and a bit of anxiety over what to do about all the Easter candy in the house with shorts season right around the corner? Because we are thinking like “grown ups.”
Paschal joy is given only to the extent we are childlike, because the kingdom of heaven can only be received by the childlike. Being childlike is not the same as being childish. Being childlike is to live through Jesus the relationship He had with His Father. It is to be simple of heart, to receive everything as a gift because the childlike recognize everything they have is a gift. It is to see the world as full of delightful surprises – from the colors of the sunset, to the twinkling of stars in the sky, to the way an ant carries its food back to its home. And it is to express this wonder and joy in heartfelt praise and prayers of gratitude.
Jesus was childlike. One of our sisters wrote a haiku from her meditations on Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection: “now the fun begins” as He began appearing here, there and everywhere to His disciples. We must remember that Jesus’ resurrection was not merely a physical “resuscitation”. As Pope Benedict expressed in “Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week”, His resurrection was a quantum leap forward in human existence: to have a physical body, but to be free from all laws of physics and the weaknesses of a physical body. Imagine! And as we live in Christ, that will also be our eventual existence. Though now, for a season, we groan in pain, someday it will not be that way. And because of that hope, we can begin to experience a foretaste of heaven now and be overcome with Paschal joy!
We heard yesterday how Mary was also childlike, and because of her humble simplicity, trust in and love of God, the Word was made flesh in her womb. She was full of God’s grace and her praise and thanksgiving for Him bursts forth in her Magnificat: “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my savior!” And Mary wants our hearts to also burst forth in freedom and joy, being filled with God’s grace and goodness.
This is our hope, this is what we celebrate for these fifty days of Easter. Let’s begin today by counting our blessings, no matter how small, and giving thanks to God for them. The more we give Him thanks, the more we see what we have to be grateful for and the larger are hearts become to be filled with His love and peace.
Want to learn more about living filled with grace as a young, single Catholic woman in today’s culture? Then our April Janua Caeli Retreat Day is for you! The theme is “Fullness of Grace: How to Receive an Overabundance of God’s Gifts.” Janua Caeli are days of retreat for single Catholic women between the ages of 18-38 who are not actively discerning a vocation, but desiring to learn more about and grow as Catholic women in today’s culture. The day of retreat will include talks, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass and the Divine Office prayed with the Dominican nuns, and more! For more information and to register, visit Upcoming Events.