When to Sing Alleluia

“From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption let ‘Alleluia’ be said both in the Psalms and in the responsories.” —from The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 15. Last fall, my students and I read the Rule of St. Benedict, and I invited them to rewrite a chapter or two to suit their secular community of college students, an assignment they took up with verve. Chapter 15—when to sing the Alleluia—became a chapter on when it […]

What Happened in the Tomb?

Did you ever wonder what exactly happened in the tomb after Jesus was buried? The mystery of Jesus fully human and fully divine tangles my brain like a shroud; I can’t get my mind wrapped around it. I’m puzzled by the few details the Gospels provide after the Resurrection. We’re told that the disciples found “the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place […]

Appreciating Emmaus

There’s much to appreciate in the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, says Michael Sparough, SJ. For one: It’s in looking back on the experience that they realize just how impactful it’s been. I think it’s that insight that encouraged St. Ignatius Loyola to teach his followers the importance of a daily Examen. It’s in looking back and sifting and sorting through the events and the feelings of our day that we […]

What Makes You Hesitate?

I often revisit Ignatius’s reflections on the Resurrection in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises at this time of year. This year, I am finding myself moved in a particularly unexpected way by Matthew 28 (SE 307): Meanwhile, the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. —Matthew 28:16–17 I imagine myself on Mount […]

Easter Comes Late

Sometimes in our lives Easter comes when we are still very much in the desert of Lent. Maybe we have lost a loved one, are living through a personal struggle, or are caring for someone who is ill. Whatever the case, we can find ourselves in the desert much longer than 40 days. In such times, Easter Day becomes but a date on the calendar, and we find ourselves still kneeling at the foot of […]

Live as Easter People

Easter has arrived! We made the long way through Lent; some of us journeyed through the liturgical marathon that is Holy Week, with its multiple services leading up to the Great Easter Vigil. Now we dwell in the weeks prior to Pentecost. Yes, we keep looking forward to the next event in the Christian year. Jesus has risen from the dead; in the coming weeks, as we hear in the Gospel stories, he will appear […]

Resurrection

In the Resurrection accounts, Jesus’ friends often need time in order to recognize him. Mary Magdalene initially thinks he is the gardener as she sits near the tomb, mourning. Did she not recognize Jesus because she assumed he was dead, and his Resurrection did not fit into her expectations? Only when he calls her by name does she recognize him. The disciples on the road to Emmaus initially dismiss Jesus as someone who is ignorant […]

Christ Has Risen!

In this Easter season, Christ has risen in our churches, homes, communities, and workplaces. All of creation is illuminated by the new dawn brightening behind the Risen Lord, bringing his triumph into our lives. Please enjoy this imaginative prayer exercise for Easter based on Piero della Francesca’s 15th-century fresco of The Resurrection. Blessings on you, your family, and your faith community during this Easter season.

This Is Your Easter, Thomas

The moniker “doubting Thomas” has always bothered me. Thomas did, after all, have great faith, enough faith to give up everything he knew—family, friends, homeland, and career—to follow Jesus. Yet we remember him for one fleeting moment of very understandable hesitation. In fact, I wonder how different his reaction to hearing the news that Jesus was alive might have been from my own? When I place myself in prayer next to Thomas in the Gospel […]

Four Ways to Receive Joy

Easter is a 50-day-long season of celebration. As Christians, we often undertake Lenten practices but often do not undertake Easter practices past the first day of Easter. One reason may be that joy, peace, and other consolations are gifts from God. They mostly do not depend on an act of our own will. I often think of joy as the flower that blossoms when the plant of love has been well-tended. How, then, can we […]

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