Spring And The Resurrection

Magnolia blossoms on the grassI have always enjoyed the season of Spring. As I get older, I am less and less of a “winter person,” and by February and March, I’m looking at the 10-day forecast for any sign of spring breaking forth.

Spring is a great time to celebrate the resurrection, which is why Easter is celebrated now. Nature is bursting forth with newness and beauty. The winter cold, sparseness, and death gives way to warmth, abundance, and life.

The resurrection of Jesus is what brings us to this abundance and life. That Easter falls during the spring (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) is perfect symbolism for the renewal brought forth by the resurrection of the Lord.

So, everyone have a great Easter season, and an excellent spring.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy imageToday is the second Sunday of Easter, which is now officially Divine Mercy Sunday. It is also the Octave of Easter (8 days after Easter Sunday).

The holiday is based on the visions of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun. In her visions, Jesus asked her to paint the vision of his divine mercy being poured forth from his sacred heart. The image is now very famous in Catholic churches and homes.

Devotions related to Divine Mercy ask for Christ’s abundant mercy, trust in his mercy, and then show mercy towards others.

Mercy is a theme in Jesus’ teachings, and in the Beatitudes Jesus reminds us that “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” During this holiday, let’s remember Christ’s abundant mercy towards us, and then show that to others.

Not Celebrating Holidays = A Sad Life

Christmas Tree in RoomWhen I was growing up, I remember being surprised that the Jehovah’s Witnesses in my classes didn’t observe Christmas or Halloween. I remember there being a mini-debate among the JWs in the class about whether “Teddy Bear Week” constituted a holiday or not, which I found amusing even in first grade.

I support the right of any person to celebrate whatever they want (or don’t want) so long as nobody is harmed, but nonetheless, I think living a life without a lot of holidays is a sad life indeed. Holidays give us meaning. They help us orient in our live in time and space. They provide us with rituals to adjust to changing seasons. In other words, celebrating holidays is deeply human. Animals don’t celebrate them, so I dare say celebrating holidays are part of being created in God’s image! Fortunately, as a Catholic, my calendar is loaded with celebrations, feasts, and fasts!

I can make Scriptural arguments about why celebrating Christian holidays is good. I can make good historical arguments for why Christmas, Easter, and other holidays are pretty darn ancient, and in the case of Easter, apostolic. I can make a philosophical case for why a holiday can’t be “pagan” anyway, because God created every day, and isn’t going to let a pagan “own” a day.

Yet, that is not what I am saying here. What I am saying here is that denying yourself the chance to feast, fast, switch seasons, and meaningfully orient yourself within time is tantamount to denying your basic humanity. I don’t want to get into a big debate, because I won’t do that here (I have better things to do), but I will say that I hope any reader that comes here that hates Christian holidays will at the very least ponder how something that brings such joy and meaning can be “evil.” I am not sure if I could imagine a god that would create people with a deep need for holidays and then send you to hell (or annihilation – pick your poison) for celebrating them.