Easter: Through the Octave and Beyond!
While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. Saint Augustine shares this perspective: "The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter, which we are celebrating at present, signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future."
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "I think Catholics enjoy Lent more than Easter. I think we are just more comfortable suffering than celebrating." When a speaker at a Lenten Mission I attended said that, I was taken back. He was trying to offer it as a bit of humor but also stated that there was some truth in it.
This particularly struck me as a convert from Protestantism where, in many denominations and independent churches, Lent is ignored, Good Friday minimized and Easter is a huge celebration often preceded by Cantata season, when the choir presents a special dramatized account of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
Even the least liturgically oriented churches implement a time of response at the beginning of the Easter service, shouting "Alleluia! He is risen!" The congregation responds back enthusiastically "He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!"
For many Protestants, Easter is over after the Sunday service. On Monday, it is back to regular routine; one could say they have entered back into ordinary time.
As Catholics, however, we're not finished. We have the eight days - the Octave Easter. For example, in the Office of Morning Prayer the psalms for Easter Sunday are recited each day. We have eight Easters, ending with Divine Mercy Sunday.
While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. But why focus on Easter as a season? Isn't every Sunday a "little Easter?" Don't we commemorate his passion, death and resurrection every day of the year?
Saint Augustine shares this perspective: "The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future.
"What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess."
The Season of Easter is not just about His resurrection but ours. St. Maximus of Turin wrote in the 5th Century, "Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life.
"His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth."
How much time do we really spend meditating on or contemplating heaven? Have we read much on the subject? How about the resurrection of the body?
I know that now, as I get older, heaven is taking on a more important aspect in my life. With my "second half of life" growing shorter, I think more about eternity and heaven. Every time my knees creek and my back hurts, I'm thankful that there can come a day when I will have a resurrected body. This is our Easter hope!
Heaven is not just a place where our souls will float around in some kind of nirvana. The Catechism states, "God will definitely grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls. All will rise: 'Those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment' (Jn 5:29)."
During the season of Easter our particular focus is on a hope beyond this world - a hope that is a great equalizer for those who are infirm or healthy, rich or poor. It is a hope that transcends our current situation with the hope of something better. and eternal!
Anthony DeStefano, in his book "Travel Guide to Heaven" says that any discussion of heaven needs to include fun. "It's a place of unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness and unlimited joy!"
Now, that's worth think about, worth celebrating and worth telling others.
In the year's Easter Vigil, Pope Benedict declared, "At Easter, on the morning of the first day of the week, God said once again: 'Let there be light.'
"The night on the Mount of Olives, the solar eclipse of Jesus' passion and death, the night of the grave had all passed. Now it is the first day once again - creation is beginning anew. 'Let there be light,' says God, 'and there was light:' Jesus rises from the grave. Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies.
"The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God's pure light. But this applies not only to him, not only to the darkness of those days. With the resurrection of Jesus, light itself is created anew. He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection and he conquers all darkness. He is God's new day, new for all of us."
As we now journey the 50 days to Pentecost, we are walking in the new light - the light of new creation which we each experience through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We don't have to live out as those who have no hope. Our hope is fixed, our pathway is lit and our voyage is refreshed by resurrection's sun and again underway.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary. That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.
More Lent & Easter
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Easter / Lent News
Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps have graced the shelves of U.S. stores for weeks in anticipation of Easter, but now that the actual ... continue reading
Easter is more than a Day, it is a Way; A Way of living our lives differently now in Him. We are invited to do that by living them in His ... continue reading
The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter ... continue reading
Are Easter eggs pagan? Watch
Easter eggs are a traditional part of modern Easter celebrations, but their origins are shrouded in history, raising questions about their ... continue reading
This Easter, make sure to take a moment with your family to thank Jesus for his amazing sacrifice. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Turn ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- Pope Francis tells medical professionals to defend life
- Pro-life activists call for acquittal of doctor who refused to ...
- 'Stand firm for life against the evil opposing it' Kentucky governor ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 HD Video
- St. Bernardine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 20, 2019
- Daily Readings for Monday, May 20, 2019
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 20th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, May 17th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, May 19th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, May 16th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.