By Carol Ann Gieske

“Easter – the Resurrection of Christ – the final proof of Christ’s divinity.  We celebrate Christ’s resurrection as something absolutely, fantastically; beautiful that has happened and is still happening.  What can be more beautiful than this passage from death to life, real life?” *

I love the Easter vigil: the flaming fire, the lighting of the Easter Candle, and the darkened church slowly bursting into light!  The movement from darkness to light stirs up my gift of faith received at baptism.

The Easter candle is a symbol of the Risen Christ offering His light and love to hearts open to receive Him.  It burns now during every Mass until after Pentecost and on special occasions like baptisms and funerals. Why?  To remind us­­— Christ, the Light of the World, is truly risen and alive.

We all have times of darkness: personal and communal. Our world has always been battered by humanity trying to live independently of God.  When I was a Madonna House guest many years ago I asked the eighty-seven year old Catherine Doherty (our foundress), “What is the most important thing to pray for?”  She thumped the table and shouted, “Faith!  Pray for the gift of more faith!” 

Faith can enable us to move from ‘maintenance to mission’ in our walk with God.  I find that my faith needs constant ‘stirring up’.  For example, I meet someone who looks sad or lonely.  Am I willing to give a greeting that might lead to conversation?   Listening often provides opportunity for prayer.  Do I offer to pray for the person?  That’s good (please God, help me remember to do so).   But I long for the day when my faith will be strong enough to also ask “Would you like to pray together now?”  Catherine liked to say “Expect a miracle”.  And Christ did say to his disciples, “You will do greater things than these.”  Visible miracles can encourage and increase faith.  However, the greatest miracles are interior – the  lifting of burdens such as anxiety, fear, unforgiveness and, best of all,  the change of heart from the darkness of self- idolatry to God.  Then the light of Jesus Christ can shine in and through the troubles that beset us.    

Catherine again:  “On this day of Christ’s resurrection, we resurrect; and so we can grow in love of one another.  Love dwells with us.  We are to love one another as Christ has commanded:  ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’  We ordinary human beings are lifted up in some fantastic, incredible, incomprehensible, mysterious way in this feast so that we may do so…  His resurrection, when we look at it, opens the tombs of our hearts.  You and I are transfigured and resurrected in an inner resurrection that is like a fire, like an exploding sunrise.” *

That makes my heart sing!  Together let us celebrate Easter every day of our lives!

*Quotes by Catherine Doherty in SEASON OF MERCY p 92-99 (available at Madonna House)

Previous Months Letters from Madonna House

October 2023: Ordinary Miracles By Mathieu Dacquay

November 2023: The Saints Are Alive By Jeanne Guillemette

December 2023: Journeying through Advent with Joseph By Carol Ann Gieske

January 2024: Celebrating Epiphany with the Christian east By Fr. Michael Weitl

February 2024: Finding Peace in Surrender to Christ By Mathieu Dacquay

March 2024: Putting everything ‘on the altar’ By Jeanne Guillemette