The Easter season—beginning on Easter Sunday and continuing for 50 days—is an opportunity for us to cultivate a spirit that defines who we are as Christians. So what does living the spirit of the Easter season mean in practical terms? Here are three concrete suggestions.
Live with Joy
Joy is a deep-down gladness that cannot be taken away, even in the midst of sorrow. The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus teach us that suffering is transformed through faith in the Risen Christ. With this faith, we are able to hold on to an enduring sense of joy even in the midst of the sadness we experience from the loss of a loved one, a failure to achieve an important goal, or a setback during recovery from an illness.
Live without Fear
The Resurrection teaches us that God can overcome anything, even death. When the Risen Christ appears to the women at the tomb and later to his disciples, his first words are “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:5,10) These words speak to our hearts, helping us cope with the fear from the loss of a job, a serious illness, or a crumbling relationship. Our faith allows us to trust that God can overcome our most serious problems.
Live with New Eyes
Easter means to live with a sense of newness. Just as the return of spring lifts our spirits and makes us feel like the whole world is new, the Resurrection of Jesus makes “all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) The Easter spirit is a spirit of renewal that enables us to show up at work with a positive attitude, to renew relationships that have been taken for granted, and to express appreciation and affection to those closest to us. It means to see the world through new eyes—God´s eyes.
We can use these 50 days to cultivate an Easter spirit that enables us to be truly Christian: embracing joy, living without fear, and seeing the world again—as if for the first time.
The butterfly is only one of several traditional symbols of the Resurrection. The most popular symbol is the egg, which seems to be lifeless but then breaks open to release new life. The lily is another common symbol. A dry and lifeless-looking bulb blossoms into one of the most beautiful flowers on earth. Another symbol of the Resurrection comes from Greek mythology. The phoenix was a bird that fell to earth and burned, and yet from its ashes arose another bird. Jesus' executioners destroyed his earthly life, but a new and more glorious life came about as a result of his resurrection. Artists sometimes show this as an eagle rising out of a flame. Appearing in the ancient catacombs of the early Church is another symbol of the Resurrection, the peacock. The peacock has a spectacularly beautiful tail, which loses its beauty during the molting season. But when the molting season ends, a new and more beautiful tail appears. The allusion in this symbol is to the fact that through the Resurrection Christ's life became more beautiful than ever.