In just a few hours we will sing Alleluia and proclaim, “Jesus Christ is Risen Indeed!” So, what did the last forty days mean? What did I learn from Lent? How will Easter be different because of Lent?
Spiritually, the last forty days were dominated by our Family Consecration. Like so many other milestones of faith, this consecration was not an end but a beginning. I learned that my personal prayer life is important, but committing to a family prayer life is crucial as well. I thought we were doing pretty well to get to Mass every Sunday, say grace before meals, and add in a few extra prayers during Advent when we lit the candles on the wreath. This Lent we pushed ourselves a bit and discovered we could do more. We have a family vocation in addition to our individual vocations.
Imagine Catholic families around the world gathering to pray in their domestic churches on a regular basis. I used to think of this as a valuable technique to instill the faith in children so they would keep it as adults. It was preparatory work. It was a drill to build habits that were important for adulthood. Now I see our family prayer is an awesome power for the here and now. This prayer brings Grace. With this Grace we can effect change. Indeed, we must. As a wife and mother I must lead my husband and children to Heaven. My husband seeks to lead our children and me to Heaven. Our children must individually seek to lead each other to Heaven. As a collective family unit, we must lead other families to Heaven. As a community of families we must lead other communities to Heaven.
As I approach this Easter, I come with a new appreciation for my individual responsibility as well as my family’s responsibility to cooperate with God’s plan for Salvation. Christ died for all our sins and he conquered Death with His Resurrection. I must accept this Redemption by turning away from sin and surrendering my life to His will. As individuals and as families we must do what we can to help others open themselves to His saving Grace as well. This action begins with prayer.