Easter invites us to new life - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Easter invites us to new life

This holy Easter season reminds us that Christ’s victory over death makes everything fresh and new. By conquering death, he shares new life with us and invites us to live it to the full.
 

All of us who try to be people of faith would like to savor this precious gift more fully. Who, after all, does not want to savor life more deeply and delight in it more fully?
 

The challenge all of us face is to make room in our busy lives and crowded hearts to receive and rejoice in what he has done for us, and to explore the possibilities that his triumph over death has opened for all of us.
 

This invitation to new and fresh life can tap us on the shoulder in a variety of ways. I want to offer three possibilities for your consideration during this Easter season. I hope that they might suggest ways in which you might open your life to new life, fresh opportunities.
 

The first is to review long-standing patterns of conduct or habits of life to see if they help us to grow in proportion to the energy we put into them. It can happen in all of our lives that we begin a practice with solid reason and good results.
 

Then time passes, circumstances change. Often enough, the circumstances that gave birth to the practice no longer prevail. Yet we continue along accustomed paths. Can it be that Easter life invites us to consider other directions, ones that might offer new vistas to us and be more fruitful applications of our time and energy?
 

A second direction open and, possibly, useful to us is to contemplate the ordinariness of everyday life through the lens of Easter faith.
 

We all know how complex and demanding life can be these days. And we are all too familiar with being so focused on our responsibilities that we miss the delight in life. We can fail to invest in relationships that encourage and sustain us. Such failure comes not from deliberate decision, but is born of distraction, fatigue or an inability to switch gears from intense activity to leisure.
 

Suppose that we all prayed from now until Pentecost that the Lord would give us the grace to see his loving presence in what we experience in daily life. My guess is that this would be a wonderful blessing to all of us. I think that we would appreciate more deeply the goodness of those with whom we spend our lives, and that we would begin to see in them aspects of goodness that we never perceived before.
 

Another fruit of such contemplation also might be a shifting of priorities and a clearer perspective on what is of lasting importance in our lives. That kind of perspective helps us to order our lives in more fruitful ways and can be a great help to us in a reasonable and life-giving use of our energies.
 

Mostly, I want to comment on the Sabbath component of our lives. I include in that notion the time, attention and energy that we give back to God in gratitude to all God gives to us. Central to this concept, of course, is participation with the community at the Eucharist every Sunday. Communion with God and neighbor is at the core of Christian spirituality. Nowhere is our spirituality better expressed or more strengthened than in our celebration of the Paschal mystery.
 

But I refer to more than that core element. I include in the notion of Sabbath our habits of prayer; the time we take to enjoy the company of family and friends; experiencing activities that bring us pleasure, enrichment and relaxation.
 

All of these things and others you can name for yourself are important for spiritual growth. And yet we know that they are unlikely to become a major part of our lives until we decide that they must.
 

I have suggested a peaceful review of old habits and patterns, a revisiting of the ordinary things of life and a consideration of the Sabbath dimensions of our lives as ways in which we might allow Easter light to shine in our hearts. Whether these suit you or not, I hope that you are finding healthy and holy ways to thank God for all that he has done for us in Christ.
 

Peace to all.

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