Catholic Activity: Easter: Solemnity of Solemnities
A short overview on this solemnity of Easter.
We have reached our goal: today is Easter, the day we celebrate Christ's resurrection. This is the single most important feast day of the Church. In the words of the Eastern church calendar this is "the sacred and great Sunday of the Pasch, on which we celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and God, the Savior Jesus Christ." (Francis X. Weiser, S.J., The Easter Book). With Christ's death and resurrection, Christ has conquered sin and death, the gates of heaven are now open to man. This is the "Feast of Feasts," the "Solemnity of Solemnities," the highest Feast of the Church, the holiest day of the year. Like the Churches, the household is decorated with numerous flowers, like lilies and hyacinths, and the table decorated with the finest linens and place settings. Francis Fernandez from his In Conversation with God: Daily Meditations, Volume Two explains why this feast is so pivotal:
The glorious resurrection of the Lord is the key to interpreting his whole life, and the ground of our faith. Without this victory over death, says St. Paul, all our preaching would be useless and our faith in vain. Furthermore, the guarantee of our future resurrection is secured upon the resurrection of Christ, because although we were dead through sin, God, full of mercy, moved by the infinite compassion with which he loved, gave us Christ...and He raised us with him. Easter is the celebration of our Redemption, and therefore the celebration of thanksgiving and joy.The Church celebrates this feast beginning at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and through the Octave of Easter. From Easter Sunday to Easter Saturday, every day is another Easter, so high is this feast.
The Resurrection of the Lord is a central reality of the Catholic faith, and has been preached as such since the beginning of Christianity. The importance of this miracle is so great that the Apostles are, above all else, witnesses of Jesus' resurrection (cf. Acts 1:22; 2:43; 3:15; etc.). They announce that Christ is alive, and this becomes the nucleus of all their preaching. After twenty centuries this is what we announce to the world: Christ lives! The fact of the resurrection is the supreme argument for the divinity of Our Lord....
And Jesus Christ lives. And this crowns us with happiness. This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness... In him we find everything. Outside of him our life is empty (J. Escriva).
A beautiful devotion during the Octave of Easter is devotion to the Divine Mercy. During Easter we commemorate our redemption, when the gates of heaven were thrown wide open, and we were saved through the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is calling us, poor sinners, to immerse ourselves in his mercy, particularly on Divine Mercy Sunday, the second Sunday of Easter. On Good Friday the Divine Mercy Novena began in preparation for this Feast of Mercy. During this week we can continue praying this novena. We celebrate this "Mercy Sunday" by going to Confession (preferably before that Sunday) and by receiving Communion on that day.
Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2012 by Jennifer Gregory Miller