Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

During our days of Easter we can find the happiness of heaven - beginning right here on earth

The tomb is empty. Death could not contain the One who poured Himself out in Love. It fills me with real Joy - the kind which comes from a living encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ. That encounter is the heart of the Christian faith. The light which flows from that once dark cave now fills the entire world with hope. That includes my own personal world, the world within my heart, which has been filled with mourning the loss of my mother. Easter makes it all make sense and opens up the portal of hope.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Easter, Resurrection, Joy, Happiness, Empty Tomb, Octave of Easter, Happiness, Heaven, Deacon Keith Fournier


VALRICO, FL (Catholic Online) - I write from a beautiful place called Valrico, Florida where my wife and I are staying with my younger brother, his wife and their two children. We are here to pick up the mortal remains of my mother for a funeral Mass and internment at my home parish, St. Stephen, Martyr, in Our Lady Queen Mausoleum Garden. It is Easter Monday.

The readings for the Mass of Easter Monday focused me on the greatest gift of all, the living faith which comes from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty. Death could not contain the One who poured Himself out in Love. It fills me with real Joy - the kind which comes from a living encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ. That encounter is the heart of the Christian faith.

The light which flows from that once dark cave now fills the entire world with hope. That includes my own personal world, the world within my heart, which has been filled with mourning the loss of my mother. Easter makes it all make sense and opens up the portal of hope.

The last enemy death has been defeated, hell has been conquered, the captives have been liberated, love has triumphed and heavens gates have been opened wide. He is Alive and all those who stand at the Altar of the Cross, believing in His promise, shall live forever in Him.

There is a glorified Resurrected Savior, now seated at the right hand of the Father, holding the place He has prepared for each of us. His wounds are beautiful now, streaming the light of grace upon an earth being reborn, revealing the depth of His love and the Hope that springs eternal. Through taking on our very humanity, He did for us what we could never have done for ourselves.

He who knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21) walked in the perfect obedience of the Son and bridged the gap between the Father and the sons and daughters who had rejected His invitation to communion. He did this through the free voluntary gift of His own Body on the altar of the Cross. And now, as we sang in Masses Churches throughout the world this past weekend, He lives no more to die!

Through His passion, His obedience unto death, and His Resurrection, He welcomes us into the very inner life of the Trinity. In Him we make our home in God. In His sacred humanity He transforms the entire human experience. He invites us to live differently and shows us the path to peace, this way of the fullness of life now and eternal glory in the new world to come.

The veil of the tabernacle has been torn open. His flesh has become the bridge between heaven and earth. He has opened eternity to all who were bound by the chains of time. He has clothed in glorious freedom those once wrapped in the grave clothes of death. He has given eternal purpose to the sheep who had wandered aimlessly in empty self pursuits.

The whole world, created through Him, is now being re-created in Him. We can see our lives differently as we open ourselves to His Spirit and allow Him to replace our finite vision with the eyes of eternal perspective. Our feet become shod with the hope of the Good News as we walk the journey of faith following in His train.

His redemptive mission continues through us to a world waiting to be born anew. He walks through time in His Body on earth, His church; the world reconciled. He invites all men and women to follow Him. For these who are born again through the waters of Baptism every tomorrow is filled with hope.

We can find the purpose of eternity revealed in the temporal realities of every today. The real stuff of our mundane daily lives becomes the ingredients of our own sanctification; the materials out of which the new creation is fashioned anew around us.

The materials have not changed; we have, because He lives now in us and we in Him. There is nothing we face alone, no tomorrow that is not redeemed and made new in the timeless One, who, out of endless, eternal, unquenchable love, came into time to redeem and transform it.

Life for a Christian is not circular but linear. It is always moving forward to fulfillment in Him. There is a beginning - and an end - which is but a new beginning in the One who is Himself both the Beginning and the End. Time unfolds into eternity in Him who has entered time and transformed it by His life, death and Resurrection.

That Glorious Day, understood by the Church as the first day of the new creation, that Day that the early Christians called the Eighth Day; is now upon us. It is the portal to eternity. He is the firstborn, the first-fruits of a new creation and is making all things new now, within us and around us.

The ground upon which He breathed and formed our first brother Adam, the ground upon which He walked and into which they placed His sacred, lifeless Body, has opened wide. It could not contain Him. He Rose victorious from the dead! Be not afraid! He now cries out causing the stones to burst forth in our own lives.

Be gone! He commands as he shines the light that dispels all the darkness! "Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. (Hebrews 2:14-15)".

Life reigns. Death dies, dealt a fatal blow at the hands of the Warrior of love. Through sin, death came into the world, and now through the Sinless One it has been vanquished. No longer an enemy it is a friend, an ally, to those who live their lives in the One who has been raised. No longer an end it becomes a new beginning for all who hide their lives in His wounded side and live their lives forever joined to Him. Nothing can separate us from that Love incarnated in the Crucified, Risen Son of the True and Living God.

When we embrace the implications of the empty tomb we begin to live in eternity, even now. We understand that He holds the future - our future and the future of this whole world that He still loves- in those wounded, glorified hands.

The events that we remember and celebrate during these Holy Days provide a lens, a hermeneutic of meaning for everything that happens in our daily lives. Even suffering and loss have beauty and irreplaceable value - redemptive, life transforming value- when we choose to follow the One who has been raised. The world is bathed in the newness of Easter. We have Been Set Free from the Chains of Death and Hope fills the World. 

Difficulties,stress,loss and all of those experiences which at first glance seem to cause us to respond with anything but joy, can be transformed in the life of a believer and actually become its very source.St. Paul told the early Christians to - "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." ( 1 Thes.5: 16 - 24))

The pain, hurt, fear, worry, and that awful killer on the loose in our modern mania, stress, need not distract us from the source of True Joy, Jesus Christ Risen from the dead! It is in times like this that I especially thank God for the great gift of the liturgical year. Our mother the Church invites us to enter into the deepest mysteries of the faith by living them liturgically. The Feasts we celebrate and the preparation for them are an invitation to participate,even now, in the life to come. So it is with Easter, our fifty day celebration. 

Christian joy is not rooted in the circumstances and struggles of our daily lives. It is not taken away by the loss of one whom we love, because Love has triumphed. Because, Love is stronger than death. Christian Joy finds its root in the relationship we now have in and through Jesus Christ, with the Father, in the Holy Spirit. We rejoice  because the Lord has been raised and is always near. 

One of the Psalms we regularly chant in the Liturgy of the Hours reminds us of the truth, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the just, but the LORD delivers from them all." (Psalm 34:19,20)

The Church as mother and teacher calls us to celebrate Easter not only for the eight days of the Octave but continues on for fifty days! Because Jesus has been raised we can live differently. The way of joy passes through the path of self emptying, the way of humility made fully real in the Crosee and passes through the empty tomb into New Life by the grace of the Resurrection. The way to joy is through self emptying love.

This lifestyle change should characterize Christians. It is why, before they were called Christians, they were referred to as "the Way" (See, e.g., Acts 22:4). By living our lives in the Risen Lord we can find true Joy.  We have heard the Gospel account when John told the crowds, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Luke 3) We have received that Baptism, and with it all the grace we need to respond to the invitation to live in the power of the Resurrection.

We can find genuine happiness, beginning today, no matter what our circumstances. That is because the Source of our happiness does not derive from our circumstances but Rose from that Tomb! It is not something but Some-One. The One who has saved us and set us free to live a new way of life now, in Him.

The Apostle Paul lived an arduous life of discipleship. He suffered physically, relationally and spiritually. Yet, he was a man of this kind of joy. He told the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:4-6)

During our days of Easter we can find the happiness of heaven - beginning right here on earth. St. Josemaria Escriva, a Saint of our own time who teaches us that the universal call to holiness embraces every vocation and state in life, once wrote, "I am every day more convinced that happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth." (The Forge, 1005) He has been raised and we can be filled with Easter Joy.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter