Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!

"God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh." – Luke 6:21

As a little girl I loved Easter. What’s not to love? My sister’s and I always got a new “Easter outfit” which included a new dress that we could choose, lacy socks, shiny new patent leather shoes, a hat and even a little purse. We would Color enough eggs to fill the whole kitchen table, we were artistic geniuses. The night before the big day we’d be filled with the anticipation of Easter morning when we would awaken to beautiful baskets filled with jelly beans, eggs, marshmallow bunnies, and one special hollow chocolate bunny! We believed that Peter Cottontail brought these beautiful baskets right to our home in exchange for a few carrots and some sweet grass for him to nibble on. Trust me when I say that we believed!

If you are in your second grade year Easter was even more exciting. I will never forget mine. I was 7 years old and I was about to make my First Holy Communion. We were dressed like little brides of Christ complete with veil, white dress, shoes and gloves. We carried our little white rosary and it was a very exciting day! We were going to get our very first taste of the Body and Blood of Christ through the Holy Eucharist. We marched down the isle boy girl side by side so excited. Our hands folded together and our eyes reverently down. We could see the flash bulbs clicking and hear the oohs of our proud parents. Just a few more steps and we would reach the gates of the alter, which were now opened just for us. There were a pair of kneelers at the top of the alter right below the cross.

The priest was there waiting with his golden chalice ready to give us our first taste of Holy Communion. I can remember the words of the nuns telling us we were not to bite the host, just let it melt in our mouths. I knelt down and stuck out my tongue, and the priest laid the host on my tongue he said “receive the body and blood of Christ”. I said amen made the sign of the cross, stood up and walked back to my pew. Back in those days you had to fast before mass for at least three hours and my throat was so dry I could barely swallow the host. I had done it! Now I was a real part of the church. I felt so holy! The festivities could truly begin! Lent was over and we could eat candy again! That was what mama always urged us to give up for Lent. We rushed through breakfast and then tore into our baskets. Because I was raised in an Irish household, I got my Blessed Mother medal that day.

There was a medal for everything in the Catholic Church. There was really no more talk of Jesus or what it truly meant to have communion. I can remember carefully putting my beautiful white dress and veil away never giving Jesus a second thought. Does any of this sound familiar? I realize now that the Easter celebration I grew up with was all about me: my appearance, my candies, my fun day. There would be the whole week of Easter celebrations which we called Holy Week. On Wednesday we would go to mass and get ashes placed on our foreheads to protect us for the coming year. Holy Thursday there was First Confession which was scary waiting in line to tell an old priest all your sins and hoping against hope that he can't see you through that small window and Good Friday which was so sad for that was the day that Jesus died for us on the cross and we couldn't eat any meat that day.

On Easter morning we were so busy going through our basket of goodies that there would be very little time remembering Jesus who brought each of us so much more than a basket full of eggs, and colored sugar candies. The nuns at school wanted us to try to relate to Jesus by recalling our own experiences of pain and sacrifice for others. I can remember thinking that it was a big sacrifice to give up candy for Lent. The nuns made sure that we spent many hours on our knees suffering in prayer. After all this was our First Holy Communion and it had to be perfect. We would spend some time being still, soaking in God in that very large church. I can remember looking at the cross and seeing Jesus nailed up there and thinking to myself, how can I ever do anything as wonderful as Jesus did? I was worried about remembering the difference between venial and mortal sins and dying and going to hell before I had a chance to go to confession.

It would be nine years later that I accepted Jesus into my heart as my savior that I learned the true meaning of Easter. Honestly, it’s still all about me…at least that’s what Jesus would say. He lived in our challenging, abusive, hurt-filled world for me. He died a brutal death, at the hands of hateful people for me. He rose from the dead and lives on, for me. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
He is waiting right there for you to ask Him into your heart. He will change your life forever!

4 comments:

God is good all the time!!
I really am loving the sentiment in this blog. Do you have any more writing to share and scriptures to inspire?! Sometimes it's hard for me to find scriptures that I think I can apply to my life but you put it in such an easy to understand so I can relate to what you're saying. Please keep writing!!!

God bless you for spreading His word and Hallelujiah tht HE healed you of Cancer!!

Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am just a simple christian woman who loves to cook and serve the Lord.

Happy Easter!! Thank you for the recipe. can't wait to try it! <3

I really connected to you in this blog, being that I am both Catholic and Irish. Reading this was like re-living my First Holy Communion. You really have a gift for writing to regular everyday people. Keep up the good work!!!!

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