Sunday, April 12, 2009

When You Find Joy at Easter. . .

Last week, Conversion Diary ran a guest post by Elizabeth Barr of Tink's Mom, in which she described how her joy at the approach of the Resurrection was the final sign that her reversion to the Catholic Church was complete. I found this a remarkable assertion, because my experience has been the complete opposite.

While I was never in a position to fully "revert" to Catholicism, my pretty apathetic high school Catholicism left plenty of room for growth and the continuing process of conversion. The very first sign that my lukewarm faith might be beginning to heat up was a joy in Easter. Even before I ever began to contemplate the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, I realized that among the best words in all Catholicism - nay, in all the world - were "He is Risen." Nothing brought me more joy than singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" at Mass on Easter Sunday. I looked forward to those stanzas like no other part of Easter.

Somehow, those rhyming lyrics -

Christ the Lord is risen today
Oh, triumphant holy day
Who did once upon the Cross
Suffer to redeem our loss

Hymns of praise then let us sing
Unto Christ, our Heavenly King
Who endured the Cross and grave
Sinners to redeem and save

and especially, more than anything else, those Alleluias - meant everything in the world.

(More than chocolate. How did that happen?)

Can I say I looked forward to Easter more than Christmas? Probably not. I still look forward to Christmas a lot. The Incarnation is nothing to sneeze at, and neither, in fact, are joyous family celebrations and widespread goodwill. But for a while (on my old computer, before it crashed and I lost everything), I kept a list of things that inspired my faith. Snippets of homilies, song lyrics, Gospel fragments (come to think of it, that was probably a good practice that I should revisit). The vast majority of those pieces of inspiration were Resurrection-related. (Gosh, I wish I could remember them all now!) They were what inspired me to grow in my faith, the kick-start to my increasing devotion. The Joy of Easter, for me, initiated (rather than completed) my faith.

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

(For the actual words to "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," rather than my cherry-picked favorite lyrics, try this.)

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