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Happy time Easter is a gift to get excited about - but the sad fact is many people get more excited about going to a pub

Memories give us energy when we need it


Brian D'Arcy

Brian D'Arcy

Brian D'Arcy

I wish you all a very Happy Easter and here’s why it should be even if it’s our second Easter with churches and pubs closed.

This week I went walking in the early morning.

Memories came flooding back of other Easters at home in Fermanagh with hard boiled eggs on the table, Easter Mass and the delight of eating sweets again after an insufferably long Lent.

Lent was a time of prayer and penance in our home. It was the culture of the time.

That brought me back to my mother who is so long dead that my memories of her are fading.

The only “relic” I have of her now is a leather bound prayer book with large type. In her day spectacles weren’t so plentiful and lights were not really bright.

As a boy I recall coming home from school rushing to a roaring turf fire in the kitchen.

Kettles and pots boiled and as often as not my mother was leaning across a chair silently praying from her bulging prayer book with her heavy long rosary beads rattling against the wood.

We often laughed when the book grew and grew as the years passed.

Cuttings from papers, special prayers she had saved from religious magazines, memoriam cards for neighbours and family who had died — it was her file, her treasury and her most important possession. To feature in a mother’s prayer book is to be remembered in a safe place.

As it got plumper an elastic band held it together.

All of us collect prayer books, real and imagined which hold together important memories from our past — memories which still supply a blast of religious energy when we need it most.

In a sense the Resurrection for early Christians falls into precisely that category. It’s a collection of faith memories which meant so much to those early Christians.

They didn’t need proof that Jesus had risen from the dead; they knew it in their hearts.

They walked around in the memory of their saviour overcoming evil, suffering and death itself, unafraid of making his memory known to others.

If the resurrection happened today it would create a storm on the Internet. There would be tweets, Facebook entries and photographs on Instagram — and it would be soon forgotten.

The first Easter was different.

There were a lot of people telling other people what to do. The angel told Mary that Jesus was no longer dead and that she should tell the disciples.

John was told by Mary. He and Peter raced there. John was afraid of dead bodies but Peter wasn’t and even though he lost the race, he was the first to see the empty tomb and, extraordinarily, John believed what Peter saw.

Jesus told Mary to tell the disciples and she did.

It was person to person. One told another because of their convictions. And to this day that’s the best way to spread good news and make it stick.

Pope Francis has made the same point in The Joy of the Gospel. “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking mercy… let us never flee from the Resurrection of Jesus; let us never give up come what may.”

Easter is a gift to get excited about.

Yet the sad fact is there are many who get more excited about going to a pub than they do about Easter. What does that say about our values?

Here’s a story with a point. A grandfather found a well, and wanted to show his granddaughter where their supply of water once came from. He brought the little girl with her bucket to draw water from this spring well. He told her this was a great natural gift from God to the family. She asked the very obvious question, “Where does God live?”

Instead of answering her, he held her safely over the well and asked her to look into the clear, calm spring water. “What do you see?” he asked.

“I see myself.” And the grandfather replied, “That’s where God lives — in you.”

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