I have been trying to come up with something grand, poetic, insightful, and lovely enough to be worthy of this Easter season in which we find ourselves, but I’m afraid that my efforts have been fruitless thus far. I will also admit that I have been feeling woefully intimidated by all the giants of literary excellence that I heard at the Festival of Faith and Writing a few weeks ago. It might take my ego a little while to recover from that intimidation and shift over to finding inspiration in their dexterity with words.
So instead–and especially since the Great 50 Days of Easter are nearly ended!–I thought I would post a few quotes about Easter from some theologians who are far wiser and more eloquent than I am. First, a call to celebration from St. John Chrysostom:
“You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!”
Pope Benedict had some glorious insights in his Easter homily about the Paschal candle, which is lit outside in the gathering darkness of Holy Saturday as a reminder that the Light of the World has returned to life:
“On Easter night, the night of the new creation, the Church presents the mystery of light using a unique and very humble symbol: the Paschal candle. This is a light that lives from sacrifice. The candle shines inasmuch as it is burnt up. It gives light, inasmuch as it gives itself. Thus the Church presents most beautifully the paschal mystery of Christ, who gives himself and so bestows the great light. Secondly, we should remember that the light of the candle is a fire. Fire is the power that shapes the world, the force of transformation. And fire gives warmth. Here too the mystery of Christ is made newly visible. Christ, the light, is fire, flame, burning up evil and so reshaping both the world and ourselves…
“This object, the candle, has its origin in the work of bees. So the whole of creation plays its part. In the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light. But in the mind of the [church] Fathers, the candle also in some sense contains a silent reference to the Church. The cooperation of the living community of believers in the Church in some way resembles the activity of bees. It builds up the community of light. So the candle serves as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world.”
“It is entirely fitting, therefore, that Christ was buried in a garden, a seed planted in the ground that blossomed into the flower of a glorified humanity. The New Adam refurbished the devastated garden that the Old Adam left behind. No wonder at the empty tomb, Christ came to Mary Magdalene as the gardener (John 10:15). For he is the Master Gardener, and we, we are his apprentices as well as the subjects of his heavenly husbandry” (p. 47).
Do you have any favorite Easter meditations to share?