Thursday, April 9, 2015

Remembering it's Still Easter When the Jellybeans are Gone

It's an easy thing to do: finish off the Easter candy, clean up the last piece of Easter grass, hang up the Easter clothes -- and feel like it's all done. Easter is over. And the secular world certainly is finished with the holiday as soon as Easter baskets won't sell any more... But we know better.  The joy of the season has only just begun on Easter Sunday!  Christ has risen! 

Here are some things to do that can help keep the season alive within our own Domestic Churches:

1) Skip Reading the Saint of the Day favor of joining the Church in reading the joyful tidings of Easter during this Octave. Easter Week and the week following Pentecost are the only two weeks of the year whose octave celebrations are so important that they preclude any other feast day of the week.  In other words, each of the saints of the days following Easter lose their places to Easter.  Nothing and nobody trump these days of celebration!  You can find the Gospels, Epistles (etc) for each day of Easter week in your missal or you can go here, where it (and so much more!) is all found in The Liturgical Year.

2) Pray the Regina Coeli during Paschaltide!

In place of the Angelus

3) Prepare a Family Paschal Candle

The Paschal Candle representing the Light of Christ (Lumen Christi) is the centerpiece of
the table today and, like the Paschal Candle at church, is relit each day (such as at dinner and during family prayer) until the Feast of the Ascension in 40 days when the Light of the
World leaves us to ascend to His Father. The candle should be large and white, and should be surrounded with flowers and the symbols of Easter. It can be carved with the Cross and the numbers for the current year as the church's Paschal Candle was yesterday -- first the Cross, then the Greek letters, then the numbers of the current year as in the diagram below. The cuts can be painted to make them stand out (try gold or deep red paint), and 5 grains of incense can be inserted at the ends and center of the Cross to symbolize the 5 Wounds (some people use cloves in place of incense at home, but if you have 5 grains of incense blessed on the Feast of the Epiphany, all the better). There is a special formula for prayer while making the cuts in the candle.  It can be found here (at Fish eaters, where this entire article can be found). And Jessica at A Shower of Roses has thee best tutorial for making one yourself.  If you can't get to it this year, it might be an idea to file away for next year!                           

The specially prepared candle imitating the one near Our Lord's Real Presence in our churches would be an ideal addition to the Easter season -- but, lacking the time or opportunity to make a family Paschal candle (and this happens to all of us!), it would work nicely and symbolize the Paschal season beautifully to simply choose a white candle, decorated nicely for Easter (sans bunnies and chicks, if you please) and placed on either the family shrine or on the dining room table -- to be lit at prayer and meal times until Trinity Sunday, the end of Eastertide.  This will serve the good purpose of reminding the family that the Easter celebration is ongoing!                                                                                                                                  

4)  Try this Old Tradition 

"Christus Resurrexit!"
 During the Octave of Easter, greet each other (and even answer your phone) with the triumphant "Christus resurrexit!" (Christ is risen!) to which comes the response "Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia" (and appeared unto Simon, alleluia!). (Fisheaters) This joyous greeting totally crystallizes the mood of this season -- and, though it may not actually last longer than one afternoon's novelty, the learning of the custom cements the idea of the joy of the season in the children's minds -- and reminds all of us how the Church has traditionally carried that understanding throughout the daily lives of the people.

5) Prolong the Actual "Feast"

Pick a day during the week (Sunday might be appropriate!) to try out different Easter baking traditions -- and just fun recipes.  Here is a link to Pintrest traditions for Easter baking.  And here are some special ideas for Trinity Sunday.

 Make it an Eastertide tradition that you continue up to Trinity Sunday, ending with a blowout meal and dessert on that day that celebrates the Paraclete in a special way.

6) But Most of All...

Make a point to keep alive in your own heart the memory of the amazing news that the Marys and the Apostles received early Easter morning: He hath risen as He said!  The "Allelujah" response should be ringing in our hearts throughout the coming weeks.   If the memory starts to fade away, you can recall it easily enough...  Try this:

  It's a weak comparison to the joy the infant Church felt knowing that Christ had, indeed, proven Himself Son of God -- and was walking among them still -- but remember back every once in a while to those last days of Lent.  Remember how it was during Holy Week?  How dreary it was, how tired you were of fasting and restrictions, how the story of the Passion, repeated so often, had settled like a sad weight in your soul?  Remember those days?  Now go back to last Saturday night; recall how amazing it felt to hear those bells at the Vigil Mass, to see the statues unveiled, to know that the suffering was at an end!  Your suffering, yes.  But also His!  Mainly His.  And the world's.  Don't forget that part.  He opened the gates for us!  That's what the whole thing has been about!

  Could there be a better reason for joy?  If there is one thing you can do during Eastertide to celebrate, try to keep that feeling in your heart especially.  And always -- as the Apostles did.  They had some hard times, the Apostles, to say the least.  But these are the memories and the understanding that got them through it all -- and to Heaven to be with the Risen Savior forever in paradise.  

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