When I was a child, I loved Easter. For days Mom would be at the stove decorating Easter eggs by dipping a straight pin into melted beeswax and creating delicate designs. On Friday we tried not to talk from noon until 3:00 p.m. and went to church for stations. On Saturday we took a basket of food to church to be blessed. Then that night there was the anticipation of finding a basket loaded with candy at the foot of my bed when I woke up. Sunday morning was exciting because I dressed in a white Easter hat and a new dress with a full skirt that flared out when I turned around. Also we had potica (Slovenian nut roll) for breakfast! Relatives would join us for dinner.
One dinner in particular stays in my mind. My sister and I had two chicks for pets. After a while they disappeared. As we enjoyed dinner on Easter, my uncle, who was a prankster, said, “You know you are eating your chickens.” Quickly my mom retorted, “No you’re not.” Years later when I was on my first home visit (with a companion), Mom, a farm girl at heart, admitted that, yes, she had slaughtered our pets and cooked them!
No longer a child, I look forward to Easter for more profound reasons. Essentially it’s a celebration of my crucified and risen Lord.
As we live through the holiest week of the year, we recall the depths of God’s love for us.
On Holy Thursday, we remember how he knelt before the apostles and washed their dirty feet and then transformed bread and wine into himself so that two thousand years later, we can consume him. We remember how on that night he was subjected to torture and humiliation for our sake.
On Good Friday we recall his painful trek to Calvary, his lacerated body carrying the timber that would be his means of execution. We recall his three-hour agony, hands and feet nailed down, thirsting, and abandoned by friends and apparently God.
On Holy Saturday we reflect on his corpse imprisoned in a borrowed tomb. As one saint put it: “The great king sleeps.” That night we may be fortunate enough to participate in that stirring Easter vigil with its new fire, candle flames passed around in the dark, the sung Gloria and bells, the pool of baptismal water, and anointings.
On Easter we rejoice that Jesus has successfully won his race. He rises from the dead victorious and glorious, having achieved the salvation of the world. He has vanquished Satan and death forever and enabled us to once again live forever with God.
That is why St. Augustine said we should be an “Alleluia” from head to toe. Alleluia means “praise God.” It is a word that expresses thanks and joy. My wish for you is that you may grow stronger in your faith and in love for our Savior who loved us to such an extreme.
Helen Steiner Rice
With OUR EYES we see
The beauty of Easter
as the earth awakens once more…
With OUR EARS we hear
The birds sing sweetly
to tell us Spring again is here…
With OUR HANDS we pick
the golden daffodils
and the fragrant hyacinths…
But only with OUR HEARTS
can we feel the MIRACLE of GOD’S LOVE
which redeems all men…
And only with OUR SOUL
can we make our ‘pilgrimage to God’
and inherit His Easter Gift of ETERNAL LIFE.
• What is your favorite Easter memory?
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