Christ is risen… Alleluia. He is truly risen… Alleluia! Hello and blessings once again. The theme that’s in my heart (again) is how this season leads many of us (well me at least – and a few others that I am in contact with) to want to ‘green up’ their lives… add some spring thinking to their souls. For some, we are so glad to be finished with Lent. And gosh, wasn’t it long this year?
Last year at this time, I wrote about a ‘resurrection’ in our attitudes towards women. I wrote about using the E-5 Program which calls men to fast and pray for their wives… their girlfriends (if not married)… and for daughters and sisters and cousins and granddaughters… praying also for women of past relationships. I think my feelings about this topic are there for a number of reasons.
First – how vividly I remember Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Mary and the women in his Crucifixion movie of a few years back. Mary virtually ‘floated’ through the movie and especially at Christ’s most potent hours – the way of the Cross and his crucifixion. A good wife – a good mother sometimes ‘floats’ from need to need and service to service – always where she is called.
And then, there are those Scripture images of the (sleep-deprived) women coming at first dawn light to anoint the precious body of Jesus. There is the image of Mary Magdalene asking the ‘gardener’ if he knew where they had taken ‘her Lord.’ We are told Christ’s resurrection was announced to women first. Women were so faithful throughout the life of Jesus. How many women are up during the night, only to be up early with their chores at the start of a new day?
Easter is all about Christ’s victory over death – we know this. Yet don’t women seem to add a special grace and beauty to Easter? My heart is filled with love for today’s women of Christ as we all go to Church on Easter. I love the little girls in their Easter dresses and some with hats or bonnets. I love that many women seem to want to dress up on this day: “Greetings Risen Lord – I bring you praise and worship in my better Easter clothes!” In their finery, women add to the beauty of what Christ has accomplished for all of us.
This leads me to a theme that I find myself returning to quite often… I hope I don’t bore you. It would be my prayer that this Easter season leads us to a resurrection of the dignity of the women in our lives and in our families… a resurrection in our prayers and attitudes about women of our past.
And to share what I’m getting at – let me re-tell a story from when I was in the seminary. At that time, we deacon candidates were studying and working on many things – our spirituality, our knowledge of Scripture… philosophy, theology… the Catechism. Yet, we were always working on our marriages… working to improve our love and our expression of total gift of self to the other.
One weekend when we were on retreat at the St. Malo Retreat Center outside of Estes Park in Colorado, husbands and wives were together for a liturgy. A good friend name Joe Gerber was assigned to preach a ‘homilette’ that evening. The Gospel readings had to do with marriage but they could well have had to do with women in general.
Joe spoke about Blessed Virgin Mary as the first ‘bearer’ of Christ – and how our wives are bearers of Christ to their families in these times. Joe did something that has stuck with me for all these years. Without having arranged this before hand – he called his wife Julie to come forward and Joe came down and around in front of Julie. He said, “Julie, I now recognize Christ in you – and I honor Christ truly present in you.” Joe then genuflected to Christ’s presence in his wife. WOW! Did Joe ever get it – this is the truth.
I share with you in this column – asking you to help return the sense of dignity to our wives and the other girls and women in our lives. Sure it’s okay to kibitz and fool around – for many of us that is our real style. But in some and certain ways – let our daughters, our granddaughters and especially our wives know that we believe they are the bearers – the current generation bearers of the resurrected Christ.
Blessings of Easter. Deacon Tom