The air was cool and the fire was blazing. I was surrounded by fellow worshippers, all of us gathered around the fire pit on Holy Saturday, and I was astounded by a deep sense of belonging, of being home, of universality. As our pastor spoke the words of the Catholic Church’s prayers of blessing for the new fire that would light our Paschal candle, I had to put my hand on my lips to keep myself from uttering aloud, “Is there anything, anything at all, more beautiful than our Catholic faith, other than our Lord Jesus, Himself?” Containing my awe, reverence, and love took effort and I just knew this Mass was going to be like no other Easter Vigil I had celebrated. The Holy Spirit was stirring in my soul and I prayed for the grace to hear all He had to say. And He had a soul-full to tell me.
The following letter was at first a means for me to capture what I had experienced at the Easter Vigil Mass, a journal entry. But as I reflected on how to write about the Resurrection and what it means to have new life in Christ and with Christ, I wondered if my letter was meant not just for me. And my wondering became a pesky thought and distraction every time I tried to begin this article. I truly, profoundly believe all the truths we as Catholics profess in the Apostle’s Creed. If we are the living Body of Christ, the communion of saints, “one, holy, catholic church” then our lives are really not our own and just as no sin is private, no joy is meant to be private, hidden, silenced.
And so, I share my love letter from my Risen Lord because Jesus Christ is OUR Lord and WE are alive with the power that raised Him from the dead living in each of us.
“My Beloved, the power that raised Me from the dead lives in you. Right here and right now! I want to show you how to live, to be truly alive, with Me now.
I have always been with you. I have heard your every cry, every desperate sob, every prayer even those you uttered only in the depths of your heart. I wept every tear with you. I felt each and every pain… physical pains as well as the heartaches, loneliness, fears, and grief.
I heard your prayer to unite your sufferings with Mine, for Me to show you how to die to yourself for Love. When you cried out to me “Jesus, how many times can my heart shatter and still go on beating, go on loving? How Lord do You bear the world’s heartache when I cannot bear by own?” I poured My Inexhaustible Compassionate Love into your heart and answered your prayer to teach you to love as I do. I showed you the redemptive power of suffering and I wept as you learned that not all suffering is redemptive. Often we must endure the pains and consequences of sins and shame that are not our own.
Together, you and I, we have suffered and we have died. But I want you to hear me say to you…
It is finished. The carrying of and dying on this cross is done. Now is the time to live. You united yourself to Me through a death like Mine, now be united to Me in resurrection.
I loved you in my suffering and dying but do not forget that I loved you first in my living. Every moment of My Incarnate Life was lived Love – Love, Itself, living for you. And now, My Beloved, our time has come! Now it is time for us to live Love together. I will show you how to live, to be alive in Me, to live My Love.”
At the end of the Easter Vigil Mass, this Love, this power of the Resurrection, flowed freely and abundantly from within me as the most joyous grateful tears I have yet to cry. My joy, the joy of being loved by Jesus, our Risen Lord, cannot, will not, be contained.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. – Romans 6:5
Copyright 2021, Laura Ercolino