Easter Season is such a rich season for symbols, for imagery. It is the season where I appreciate most the Church’s rich liturgical tradition – she really has a way of understanding the relationship between the natural and the supernatural world, which gives birth to such rich spiritual life. Last Sunday I was blessed with the chance to go to mass at my childhood parish, St Martin de Porres, the Catholic Church in Dripping Springs (we’re still the Austin Diocese – just keep heading South West on 290 and you’ll find us!). When our previous priest went into retirement a few years back, we were blessed to receive Fr Ed Koharchik as our new pastor – he has been such a gift to our parish! And as for gifts – he truly has the gift of creating a beautiful liturgical space.
The fresh lilies, the wall of little burning candles, the white cloth draped just so and spilling over the alcove beneath the crucifix – my poor pictures don’t do it justice (especially since I wasn’t able to snap any good shots before they blew out the candles!) But being there – as I prayed, I felt drawn to “consider the lilies,” if you will (Luke 12:27). Christ so often drew our attention to the natural world to teach us with metaphors and rich imagery – thus, we are invited to be drawn up into Him through contemplation of His creation, of our physical world (on a similar note, read an awesome post on the power of icons here, and the power of Catholic architecture, here).
We’ve only recently passed through the desert of Lent – and did not our sparse altars, the dry twigs instead of
flowers, rocks, sand, etc used in our churches and places of prayer help us see a reflection of our inner lives in
our exterior surroundings? Did not the ashes and purple cloth help focus our spiritual energy on the season we were living? And now, it is the season of the Resurrection! As our souls grew sober and humble in the desert, let our souls now rejoice in this rich spring of new life – let the lilies, the white cloth, the Paschal candle, help our souls to rejoice! And isn’t it that special touch, that inner life infused into to natural things, that shows us the perfect relationship between the natural and supernatural? A good liturgist doesn’t just place the lilies any ol’ way on the altar – he considers the harmony in the space, he gives his attention and contemplation to the creation of the space. In this way, created things are ordered to the inner life, to the Spirit, and they give glory to God.
Doesn’t that speak to the very nature of the Resurrection, after all? Christ “coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance” (Phil 2:7) – the divine and human are in perfect communion in the person of Christ, the God-Man. Taking on our human form, through the Mystery of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, Christ shows us the way to Resurrected life – that is, natural life lifted up into the supernatural life of God.
Our Resurrected life with God starts here on earth, as we become, with grace, the new creation – “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor 5:17). New things have come! So let us rejoice! And let our rejoicing spill into our physical lives – let it shine in our churches, in our homes, in our feasting and in our generous giving to others.
In my own home, my roommate surprised me last week with buying an Easter lily for our living room! (yes, it’s huge, and it was under 7 dollars at CostCo – you don’t have to spend much!). Each morning as I head out into the world and each night as I come home to retire, the lilies remind me what season we are living, and call my soul to rejoice with them, to proclaim new life. That is the power of the relationship between the Creator and His Creation! So let us keep celebrating this new season – and cry out with and through His Creation of our Resurrected life in Christ:
“…the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!” (Palm Sunday Gospel Luke 19:28-40).
Post-post (instead of post-script, pardon the intended play on words!): Have you thanked your priest, deacon, lay volunteers, etc recently, who are working so hard to make all this beautiful liturgy possible?? Thank them! And see if they need help! There are so many ways to get involved – flower guilds, choirs, etc! Just a thought… 🙂