An Even Holier Week

Last week may have been “Holy Week,” but this week—the Octave of Easter—is perhaps even holier.  It struck me only midway through the week that this time deserves some reflection, as well.

I love the incredible depth of the liturgical calendar.  The transition from Lent to Easter is one of the greatest examples.  Easter isn’t just a day; it’s eight days, which extend into a whole season—a season ten days longer than Lent!  I love that after the sacrifices, the focus on penance, and the daily reminders of our need for God’s mercy and grace, we have a celebration that just goes on and on.

In this hemisphere, at least, it’s a time when spring has finally come, the sun is shining (except when it’s raining), and for the first few weeks, at least, it seems like everyone is wearing her favorite dress.  It’s a time we are reminded of the victory, reminded of love, reminded that there is so much good in life.

While I love the symbols and the Scripture that define this season, prayer has been tough this past week.  Coming out on the other side of an intense season, with the opportunity to just relax, watch The Biggest Loser (which continues to inspire me, but more on that later), and eat dessert in the middle of the week, has thrown me off kilter, and it got me thinking.

Is joy more difficult to appreciate than suffering?

How many movies, books, and songs are there about trying to appreciate the good things in life?  Why can it be so difficult to enjoy the things we think we want for ourselves, for our families, when we have them?  Why are we (or why am I, at least) always thinking about the next thing?  The next day’s schedule, the next chore to complete, the next meal to cook?  Sure, part of it is our fast-paced society, but I think part of it is human nature, too.  We are so easily distracted, so easily pulled in myriad directions, that we struggle to focus on the here and now.  To be “present,” as it were.

I’m reminded of a quote from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  (If you haven’t read this, go find a copy and get going.  Like, now.  It’s a play, too, which I hear is phenomenal.  Read the book, then buy tickets.  Okay, tangent over.)  Here it is:

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”

The present is the moment in which we can experience love, grace, life in all its fullness, whether we are formally praying, in conversation with another person, or simply being silent and still.

For me, the start of this Eastertide is as much a time of reflection and renewal as Lent was.  There is still much work to be done, yet now I am reminded that the promise is fulfilled.  And after forty days of keeping this word out of the liturgy, I can again call out, “Alleluia!”

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One Comment to “An Even Holier Week”

  1. Love this. I have witnessed true tragedy this past year, with the loss of my daughter’s friend (please support Justice for Lily on Facebook) and yet I find myself resorting back to stress and thinking of the next thing.

    This is such a great question too–why does it take the bad to appreciate the good??

    I read The Screwtape Letters in HS, but I definitely have been dying to read more of C.S. Lewis!

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