Relic of the Crown of Thorns in Notre Dame, Paris.
The beautiful Masses and ceremonies and prayers never cease to overwhelm me- even without hearing the words from the back of Church where I am rocking a baby. Even here, a tremendous sense of grandeur seems to pervade the entire Church and spread out into the world to dazzle and transform with the power of the Resurrection.
But perhaps it is the lesson of the Cross that is more central to this feeling of magnificence that transforms every object I encounter. The very air around us, everything God has created takes on the foreboding of the Last Supper, the deep sadness of Good Friday, the anticipation and hope of Holy Saturday and only after all this- the final and breathtaking magnificence of the Easter Gloria.
If we learn anything from life it must be Sacrifice, the way of the Cross is the path to Joy. Each Easter morning this becomes more real to me and I become more emotional in understanding and delighting in this mystery.
I love to see the faces of my children when they hear the organ rise on Easter morning. There are always tears in my eyes during the Angelic chant, "Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen from the Dead!" This is the day that desolation is replaced with triumph! But how are we to apply this to our everyday lives?
We can use the joy of Easter morning to endure the little Crosses that God sends us in our responsibilities and resist the temptation to deviate. I should say to my children that God wants us to perform our most difficult duties with greater love, because this is the way of the Cross and the way of joy. We must learn the lesson to suffer well, because if He wants us to suffer greatly we will be able to do so only with the anticipation of greater joy. Maybe this is why the Saints loved to suffer, they realized the triumph they felt on Easter would be magnified in Heaven when we will be able to fully understand the Redemption.
Responsibility is a great quality, that can only be understood by those who love God. If we love our place in the design of God and want to perform our duties well then we accept them lovingly and even develop a sense of possession over them. Responsibility leads to maturity, something that I crave very much. I see the mothers in Church who have many children with a spirit that is tough to the world yet full of gentleness within their own families. They understand the way of the Cross and travel along it very wisely: one step at a time.
Eventually we arrive at total abandonment of ourselves. How can we not be happy? Sometimes, even on hard days, I wonder how anyone can be unhappy in the place that God has put them. The family is a beautiful design! The wife has the husband to lead and help her, the children to keep her busy, the house and meals to attend to, prayer, education and work to consider. There is a great simplicity when we accept what God gives us and follow the Commandments of the Church and through grace, work through the Way of the Cross, responsibility and joy.
Resurrexit sicut dixit! Alleluia!