The Easter Season is a time of great joy. The forty days of Lent, leading up to the triumph of Jesus overcoming death on the cross give us hope, courage, and peace.
Yesterday, on the Octave, or eighth day of Easter, we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. This feast day is relatively new to the church calendar having been established in 2000, in conjunction with Pope John Paul II’s canonization of St. Faustina.
In the early 20th century, Christ appeared to Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, and asked her to pray a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy. To learn more about St. Faustina, click here.
The image above depicts Jesus, based on St. Faustina’s visions. Jesus’ right hand is raised in blessing as he points to his chest with His left hand, which emanates two rays: the red ray symbolizes the blood of Jesus, and the white or pale ray symbolizes water. The image helps us understand that faith is spread through people’s hearts and is extended to others throughout daily life. By reading the Scriptures every day, we can foster a growing love, not only for God, but also for our neighbor.
Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday are particularly important celebrations for us this year, given that we are now beginning our sixth week of quarantine and the end is not yet in sight. Our patience is perhaps wearing a little thin, our fears and anxieties about the future may be elevated, and yet we are asked by our government officials and by God to wait a bit longer. This is the time when we really need to dig deep to harness our grit and perseverance. For most of us, it is unlikely that we can find that strength without relying on the Risen One to help us through. As Jesus extends His hand in blessing us, we, too, need to extend our hands and hearts to comfort one another.
St. Michael’s School teachers will continue to work tirelessly to provide your children with opportunities to learn and grow over the next six weeks. Do the best you can and reach out to your child’s teachers, or to Mrs. Gase or me, if you need help. If we are able to return to our classrooms for a few weeks or even days at the end of the year, that would be wonderful, but if we cannot, then we will close a school year that will definitely be one for the history books. I came across this “letter” this past week, and although I do not know to whom credit is deserved, I post it here for your consideration:
Don’t stress about schoolwork. In September, I will get your children back on track. I am a teacher and that’s my superpower. What I can’t fix is social-emotional trauma that prevents the brain from learning. So right now, I just need you to share your calm, share your strength, and share your laughter with your children. No kids are ahead. No kids are behind. Your children are exactly where they need to be.
All the teachers on planet Earth
Finally, What I miss most about not being able to attend Mass at this time of year is hearing the beautiful music that rings in Christ’s Resurrection. Mrs. Guarin, Mrs. Orona, and Mrs. Gase know my favorite Easter hymn, and they make sure that we sing it at several school Masses following Easter. I have included a link below from the children’s choir of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church performing on Easter Sunday, 2015. Next year we will be sure to post a video of our own students singing this traditional hymn.