Continuing Friendship in the Easter Season

hands held in heart shape around sun in distance - photo by Shera Banerjee on Pexels

I have a confession to make.

I tend to forget about Jesus around a week or so into the Easter season each year. It is never intentional, but it happens more often than I want to admit.

I think it is partially due to the fact that I tend to go all in these days for Lent. I commit to quite a few additional things during the 40 days as a way of reconnecting and renewing my relationship with Jesus. Some years, like this one, I take on a bit too many things, and so when I finally reach Easter morning, I find myself sighing in relief and releasing all my commitments at once in a joyful response to my friend that was once dead and now lives on in the Resurrection.

This Lent, I wrote a series of reflections for the Central and Southern Jesuit Province. As I entered into the experience of writing the series, “Leaning into our Belovedness,” I found myself engaging with Jesus’ Passion and Death in deeper ways than ever before. The journey was more intense than I thought it would be, but in its intensity, I was graced with many moments of deep and meaningful connection with the God who loves me as I am, no matter what.

While writing my last reflection for the series right before Holy Week, I experienced a moment of intense longing to hold on to the connection I had formed. But then, when I finished it all and finally pressed Send, I found myself breathing a long sigh of relief. I was grateful to have arrived at the conclusion of Jesus’ Passion and Death and was more than ready for the joy of the Resurrection. I paused and thanked Jesus for the 40 days of intense focus and contemplation, and then I shut down my computer and walked away.

Reflecting on that moment now in the midst of the Easter season, I realize how quickly I left my friend behind. Here Jesus and I had walked together through this intense journey in which Jesus allowed me to get to know more of him and I was able to discover new pieces of myself in the context of our developing friendship. And then I just ended it, as if I were writing in his yearbook post-graduation: “Thanks for the ride! See you at the reunion, Jesus!”

As I engage more with the Spiritual Exercises through my graduate work this year, I recognize that St. Ignatius was intentional in not ending with Jesus’ Passion and Death. He was also intentional in not concluding simply with one quick day of reflection on Easter Sunday. Ignatius, in fact, dedicated an entire week of the Exercises to exploring our relationship with Jesus after his Resurrection, the Jesus present with us in the here and now. In the Fourth Week, we are invited to a more comprehensive contemplation of the love of God so that we may take the insights we have gained in the Exercises and figure out how they will affect our everyday life moving forward.

So, though I may have started this Easter season by closing the book on my journey with Jesus for the year, I am opening it up again now to see what it looks like to develop further this relationship with the resurrected Jesus, who lives on in my life today.

I’m spending some intentional time reflecting on the four attributes of God that the Contemplation to Attain the Love of God focuses on in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises. As Jim Manney writes in Ignatian Spirituality A to Z, “The Contemplation focuses on four of God’s attributes: his generosity to each of us personally; his presence in all things; his energetic activity in the world; and his ceaseless giving of blessings and gifts.”

I am hoping that intentional time spent reflecting on these four attributes of God during the Easter season will help me continue to develop my relationship with Jesus, the one who desires a friendship with me all the days of my life. I am hoping that it will also help me to continue the journey I started during Lent, the journey to lean into my belovedness.

Will you join me on this journey?

Photo by Shera Banerjee on Pexels.


  1. Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts with me and us. I share your experiences and rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection and presence here and now.

  2. Thank you for expressing a deep desire in my heart. I too have been casual about my relationship with Jesus after Lent. Your article is causing me to re-think how I do life so my friendship with Jesus need not end.
    Many blessings to you and your family!

  3. Gretchen, you touch on a very important lack of emphasis on the joy of the Easter season. We call ourselves “Easter people” but beyond Easter Sunday, the rest of the 50 day Easter Season is pretty ho-hum. The Church needs to place more emphasis on the joy, blessings and extraordinary beauty of the Risen Lord throughout the entire Easter season, not just Easter Sunday!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful reflection…I hope you will experience Monday’s total eclipse with your family and that it may inspire another marvelous piece!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here