"The night will be as clear as day"

Christ is risen, alleluia alleluia! He is risen as he said, alleluia! Another Paschal Triduum has passed and once again we have entered into the fifty-day celebration of Easter. As I have written about in posts from pervious years, the three-day liturgy celebrating the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ marks both the center of Christian worship and also the most exhausting and joy-filled part of my ministry at Saint Thomas More. This year we baptized a record 21 new members of our community including several adults with whom I have been blessed to journey for the last 18 or more months as they prepared for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist. Also new this year is my instituting the celebration of Evening Prayer (Vespers) for the octave (eight days) of Easter as a form of mystagogical catechesis for the neophytes (those just baptized) with all the faithful. This is an opportunity for all those baptized—whether days or decades ago—to explore more deeply the mysterious realities to which the sacramental signs of our liturgy point and is modeled on the homilies preached by fourth and fifth century Church Fathers during this same honeymoon period following full initiation.

Frances feeling the baby dancingMichelle’s sister, Frances, came and joined us for Easter which was a good opportunity for her to see Michelle at 38 weeks pregnant, share together stories of their recently deceased grandmother (requiescat in pace), and relieve everyone’s anxieties about the possibility of Michelle having gone into labor during Triduum. Although Frances was disappointed that her niece was not born while she was here, she did get to feel her dancing around. We had a great time conversing and especially enjoyed our Easter dinner of signature dishes, desserts, and drinks that everyone contributed.

Of particular focus for me as we celebrated Christ’s resurrection as well as the rebirth to new life of the neophytes (formerly catechumens, then elect) was the nearness of our own daughter’s birth and rebirth in Christ. As we listened to the scripture stories of salvation history, invoked all the holy men and women at the Litany of the Saints, and watched clothed in white those washed clean as they emerged from the womb of Mother Church I was indeed moved with great joy. In forty days, as the Church universal celebrates Ascension (May 24), our daughter will cross those same waters and be anointed priest, prophet, and king to go before the Lord to prepare his ways [and] to give his people knowledge of salvation (Benedictus, Luke 1:68-79). As we anticipate her birth any day we know that we too will be born to a new life, a life that while we cannot see clearly all that it will entail, a life that will indeed be a glorious new day and a font of great blessings.

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