Happy Easter! I love that it’s the end of May and still the Easter Season. We Catholics know how to party, celebrating the Resurrection for 50 days while only fasting in preparation for 40 days! While I deeply love the Easter season, I have found that, surprisingly enough, I struggle with truly receiving and living into the joy of the Resurrection. Every Easter Vigil, my heart soars with peace and joy after entering into the deep sorrow of the Passion, and the new life and rebirth of spring fills me with hope after a long winter. But even with these incredible signs of newness and life, a part of me wants to stay in the tomb— in the comfort of my doubt, fear, and pain. The words of the angel to the women speak to that place of fear and hesitancy in me: “Do not be afraid! I know you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said.” He is not there: He is not in the tomb, in the shadowy places we like to hide out of fear. The news of Christ’s Resurrection is SO good that we doubt that it could really be true—could God really love us that much? Could He really fulfill even the deepest desires of our hearts? We struggle with trusting God’s plan, so we often are content to stay on the edge of the cliff as spectators, where not much is expected of us and total surrender is not demanded of us. But what if we were to jump?
My fiancé and I recently had an amazing experience of God’s providence and took yet another step in (slowly!) learning the lesson of total surrender. We had been house hunting for about 6 months and had begun to become pretty discouraged as spring approached since house prices were going up, the wedding was coming closer, and we still hadn’t found one that was right for us. We started a surrender novena (by Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo- I highly recommend it!), and toward the end of the novena, I heard a story on the Abiding Together Podcast that really resonated with me. Michelle, one of the ladies on the podcast, had been house hunting with her husband and they really felt called to live in a particular neighborhood. So they did what they called a “Jericho Walk,” taking a prayer walk around the neighborhood for 7 days. On the last day, a house opened up in that neighborhood in their price range, and a benefactor for her ministry even came forward with a check, telling her that he felt that God was calling the next stage of her ministry to come out of her home! I told my fiancé this story, and we decided to do something similar. So on the 100-day mark until our wedding, we prayed the rosary while walking around the neighborhood where we have felt called to live. Three days later, we got a text from our realtor that a house had just opened up in our price range. Before I could even open the link to see the house, my fiancé called me, saying, “You will never believe where this house is!” It was in the exact location where we had finished the rosary on that walk.
Within a few hours, we had seen the house, put in our offer, written a letter to the sellers telling them why we wanted to make that house our home, and surrendered it all to the Lord. That evening as we were walking into Adoration at Youth Group, we got a call— not only had we gotten the house, but the sellers had cancelled 10 showings and rejected 2 other offers after reading our letter! It was clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that God wanted us to have that home.
That night I couldn’t sleep from the excitement, but then I started having second thoughts—the kitchen was too small, there weren’t enough bedrooms, the color wasn’t what I had imagined… so on and so on. My mind began to come up with every reason why this house wasn’t good enough. Then it dawned on me how ungrateful my heart was in the face of such a clear and beautiful gift from God! How often and how quickly do I go from rejoicing in His providence to complaining, just like the Israelites in the desert?! The manna from heaven wasn’t good enough for them, even though it was a miraculous gift straight from God Himself, just like the house wasn’t ‘good enough’ for me, even though it too was clearly a gift straight from God. How quickly had I fallen into that trap!
As the Easter season begins to wind down, let’s pray that our eyes would be opened to all of the miracles that God is still working in and around us. Let’s pray for the grace to rejoice in the goodness of all that God does for us, the small things as well as the big. And let’s strive to hold on to the joy of the Resurrection, rather than getting caught up in the cares of this world and hiding behind our wounds. Jesus, we trust in You!