Those of you who have journeyed with us, even if only sporadically, through the Lenten retreat, may feel the need for a new focus now. The retreat followed the form and content of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which have been practiced for centuries in various formats. For some people, this is an intense experience. For others, it is at least a period of trying out new spiritual practices.
So now we find ourselves at the end of the Spiritual Exercises and at the end of Lent, known as Eastertide. In a way, it was a double retreat—one focusing on our preparation for Easter and one using specific spiritual exercises for individual growth. How in the world do you follow that?
Allow me to voice one of my pet peeves. I’ve never understood why, after all those weeks of the dark sorrowing and reflection of Lent, we spend ONE DAY on Easter. According to the church year, there are actually several weeks of Easter, but in real practice we have a big celebration Easter day and then everything goes back to normal.
So my first suggestion for these days following our Lenten/Ignatian retreat is to keep celebrating Easter, the day of Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection announced a whole new order in which we now take an active role. Because of the resurrection, death does not have the final say. I believe this is a pretty big deal.
I’d like to be able to greet fellow Christians with, “Christ is risen!” and have them respond, “He is risen indeed!” for at least two weeks past Easter day. Unfortunately, I have received some blank looks when attempting to do this, and I give up too easily. But maybe I’ll try again. Maybe today I will say to a coworker here at Loyola Press, “Christ is risen!” and wait for a response that indicates we really believe in the resurrection and that it makes a difference.
What difference does it make to you that Christ is risen? What difference should it make in the way you go through this very day? Discuss.