THE JOYS OF EASTER
By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
The Easter season this year has been especially joyful. Not only have we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, and the end of the Lenten period of fasting, but last Sunday, the last Sunday in the Octave of Easter, we saw the canonization of two recent popes, John XXIII and John Paul II.
This canonization ceremony was special to me because both popes lived their papacy during my lifetime. St. John XXIII, when he convened Vatican II, opened the Church to more dynamic and relevant interaction with the world. This was important to me because at that time I was new to the Catholic faith and John XXIII’s actions and statements of faith answered many concerns I had at that time.
St. John Paul II is very memorable to me because of his visit to Manila for the World Youth Day. Jun and I were standing along Taft Ave to see him as he passed by in his pope-mobile. Even at a distance, I could feel and sense his aura of holiness. As he went by and blessed the crowds of people including us, I personally felt his blessing and tears flowed down my face, tears from the wonder of it all, truly a moment to treasure, as if my heart burned within me with the fire of his spirit.
Another joy this year was being able to decongest my busy schedules, take time out to slow down, rest and recuperate from a seriously persistent allergic cough that had seen me hospitalized for nine days in March. I caught up on my readings, spent time counting my blessings and enjoying early morning birdsong on our upstairs terrace, and taking pleasure in just “being” rather than always “doing.”
The joys of Easter. Every year the time of Easter holds precious memories for me, too many to recount them all in this column. I am sure that each of you also has special times in your life full of treasured memories. Let us not hesitate to slow down and take time out to remember these joys. For these joys will surely outnumber the disappointments and trials in our life and enable us to realize that truly the Lord has blessed us in so many ways, not just by taking our sins to the Cross on Friday and rising victorious over death on Easter Sunday.
May the joys of Easter continue to bring us precious memories of joy, hope, and new beginnings to hold in our hearts so we can revisit them throughout the coming years.