Monday, April 17

Excellent suggestions

I got an e-mail from John R., whose wife is an Ex-Mormon Catholic who came into the church on Easter Vigil 2004. He had some great ideas on how to develop spirituality during the Easter season, and I thought I would share them with you all.

When Easter comes, I generally go back to my normal devotions. Here are just a few ideas:

Memorize the Regina Coeli. Pray that yourself or in a group through Eastertide in place of the Angelus.

Since you like the Divine Mercy Chaplet, you can do a Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday, and continue through the Octave of Easter.

Increase your devotion to the Blessed Mother of the Risen Lord in May. Most dioceses have Rosary processions sometime that month. Bring flowers to a Marion shrine that month.

I make sure I make mass on the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and Our Lady of Fatima, and I go on Ascension Thursday, even when they announce halfway through Easter that they are moving it to 6th Sunday of Easter. That always irks me.

You can start a Pentecost or Holy Spirit Novena on Friday after Ascension Thursday, and on Pentecost Sunday pray the Litany of the Holy Spirit. The Novena coincides with the first ever novena, when the Apostles prayed for nine days in the upper room for the Messenger of the Lord.

We started a new tradition this year. Holy Thursday we have a simple roasted lamb with pita bread and Greek salad. But for Easter, we always have a fancier lamb (we even have the option of braising it like those naughty Egyptians :) with asparagus. And my favorite tradition is as I help prepare the meal, I drink a bottle of ruby port as Easter music plays on the stereo (Handel's Messiah was composed for Easter, and it does indeed sound great on Easter morning, particularly after a few glasses of port).

But other than that, life goes back to normal. As I see it, Easter is a time to enjoy the fruits of Lent, as well as a time to sustain for life the good habits picked up during Lent. You built the fire during Lent, now you can roast the marshmallows.

And if you are looking for ideas to develop new traditions that follow the liturgical calendar, I recommend www.catholicculture.org. More great ideas to appreciate whatever season we're in than you can possibly ever use.

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