We are the Easter People

I don’t know about you, but there’s really something about this particular Easter season that has me…well, joyful.

I suppose Easter is reason enough to be joyful, but in the past years, after Easter Sunday has come to a close, I go back to the daily grind, and well, forget that it is still Easter. I go back to work, to everyday life, and go back to my old struggles, like Easter didn’t happen at all.

But this year, I don’t know. I go to mass, and every time we pray the Regina Coeli, or recite Glory to God, I start tearing up. I love it when the priest says “Alleluia” at the end of his blessing, and I say, “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia” back. I love it, and every time I remember the victory of Easter, I couldn’t stop smiling and singing inside because…well, it’s Easter!

I suppose it is because of knowing that I am truly forgiven and all. And I suppose it’s because this Easter is a stark contrast from last Easter, where everyday was a struggle to believe in the victory of Christ’s resurrection.

I remember reading somewhere, probably on Twitter, last year that Easter is the longest season in the church for a reason. I guess it’s because we frail and imperfect humans need a reminder that Jesus’ resurrection is really important, and it is a real cause for celebration. So we should celebrate. We should remember, and we should live it, until it gets ingrained in our hearts even after Easter is over. I mean, the resurrected Christ could have just showed up for a week, and then ascended, but He chose to stay with the people to teach them and equip them for 50 days. And what’s more, even after His ascension, He sends the Holy Spirit to prepare us even more and remind us that Hey, you are neveralone.

How amazing is that.

I guess one of the reasons why this Easter feels different is because…well, it is. It’s like I am finally waking up, like I have finally reached something and I am about to start a new journey.

It’s so incredibly exciting.

So yeah, it’s still Easter. And if you had a particularly good and blessed Holy Week and you’re wondering where it all went, remember this: IT IS STILL EASTER. There is still a lot of reasons for us to sing Hallelujah. :)

do-not-abandon-yourselves-to-despair-we-are-the-easter-people-and-hallelujah-is-our-song-pope-john-paul-ii

And today, the second Sunday of Easter, there is cause for more joy. It’s Divine Mercy Sunday (which I would write about in another blog post, but I think this one from Lifeteen has it covered :D), and the canonization of two Popes, Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.

Truth be told, I knew nothing about Blessed John XXIII until recently, but I’m starting to read up about him and he’s pretty awesome, too. But JP2…he was the first Pope I knew in my lifetime. If you know me in real life, you know how much I love JP2, and how every time I read or watch something about him, I start crying. I didn’t get to see him when he was in Manila for World Youth Day 1995 because I was too young to appreciate it, but I knew, even in my young heart, that he was a great and good man. More than a decade later, when I started praying and preparing for WYD 2011, I asked for his intercession everyday for the pilgrimage. And I believe that it was because of his intercession that the WYD dream finally came true. :)

I love it that JP2 knew what it is to be an Easter person, to have Jesus’ resurrection in his heart and to believe in the love that redeemed us from the depths of our sin. This is a person who knew and believed in God’s mercy and grace, and lived it his whole life even in the face of death. This is someone who knows how to take delight for real, and who loves fully because he is loved.

So yeah, this Easter is definitely something. :) And we’re only just in the first week! Hallelujah, indeed.

Happy Divine Mercy and Canonization Sunday, everyone! St. John XXIII and St. John Paul the Great, pray for us! :)

My name is Forgiven

As soon as the Easter Vigil was done on midnight of Sunday morning, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. It’s Easter, people! The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen! The Glory of God has defeated the night! Hallelujah!

And it was an amazing kind of joy, of delight, to know that it is Easter and Jesus is victorious, as He always is. Over the Holy Week, I pondered over how his disciples must have felt, right after Jesus expired on the cross. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of their pain, of their sense of loss and how life could possibly be after their friend was buried in the tomb. They didn’t know that Jesus was going to rise on Sunday. Jesus spoke of it, but I’m sure it was hard to understand then. What’s all this rising again mumbo-jumbo? Why is our friend speaking of death? Surely he didn’t mean it that way.

Then I realized that I actually knew that pain. I felt it, too. I felt it in a miniscule way when every time I was disappointed, I felt it in a bigger way in the times when my heart got broken. I knew a variation of that pain, that sense of loss in realizing that what I had known for the past few days, weeks, months, years is just…gone. And there is nothing I can do to get it back.

Of course I knew that pain.

Earlier in Holy Week, I was reflecting on Jesus’ pain as the week went by. Apparently, Holy Wednesday is also known as Spy Wednesday, because it was day when Judas went to the Pharisees to turn Jesus in. The Gospel that day felt like a knife to my heart:

Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priestsand said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirtypieces of silver to him.From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. (Matthew 24:14-16)

I could only imagine Jesus’ pain then, knowing that one of his closest friends betrayed him. For thirty pieces of silver. There was so much pain for him in the next few days, but I think the pain of this betrayal — and Peter’s later denial — was even worse than the pain of the crown and the scourging and the nails.

How terrible it is to be betrayed by a friend.

Even more terrible when I realized that there is very little difference between me and Judas.

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Tiny Victories

I’ve had several drafts of my first post in April, but I always ended up trashing them because they don’t feel right. Granted, I was also very, very busy for the past few days that I could barely breathe. That, and I was caught in quite a cranky mood and I didn’t feel like posting when I’m in that mood.

Now that I have actually found a little bit of a breather, I find that I am actually incoherent. Then again, I have been writing all day for a work article, so quite frankly, my mental capacity is quite drained. I’m going to try, anyway. With lists, because lists are fun and easy.

But first:

Image from we heart it
Image from we heart it
  • My March ended with quite a bang, though, and it was mostly because of Holy Week and Easter and watching Jars of Clay again after eight years. It felt like the most awesome late birthday gift (among all the other gifts I received), especially since they sang most of my favorites: Tea and Sympathy, Five Candles, and Worlds Apart. It wasn’t a huge party concert that I was expecting, but I really liked the intimate atmosphere of the concert, and the company I had that night. Jars of Clay will always be in my heart. ♥
  • It feels a bit weird going back to my social media profiles now that it’s Easter. I try to not tweet too many nonsense stuff now, but I still often do when I’m bored and all. Not that it’s bad, but it feels like I turn to it when I’m bored, and it eats up a lot of my time when I could be doing something else. Something productive, or at least, would bless other people. So…I’m trying to not be too attached to Twitter. There is more to life than social media, yes?
  • I was cranky this week for several reasons, and it was kind of funny how I finally snapped out of the crankiness. I ranted about this for a while on Twitter, but I didn’t really want to offer any other information — in my attempt to enter the silence and all that. I figure it was the kind of crankiness that I just need to ride out, and you know, wait. The thing was, I had no idea how long I’d be waiting, how long I’d ride it out. Trust me, I wanted to complain so many times. And then…
  • …you know I still feel a little ashamed at how I snapped out of this crankiness. I won’t divulge details anymore, but I find it quite…juvenile And yet, it was interesting. I can’t remember where I heard it or read it, but someone said/wrote that happy people are shallow people. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but you know, happy people see happiness everywhere, and just choose to be happy. I wrote about happiness is a choice here before, and I admit that it’s still hard to really live that because I get so scared of the after. But…didn’t I wish for happiness for my birthday? Or I mean, didn’t I wish for joy? So…I’m going to choose to be joyful.
  • And speaking of waiting…after something happened, the only thing I can think of was: Lord, I know You have a lesson here somewhere. I’m not quite sure yet, but it almost feels like I am back to square one, but also not quite. I can’t quite explain it, and maybe I am not supposed to explain it just yet. I am quite thankful that I waited, though…because that something was so surprising that I can’t help but feel that God is telling me “Aren’t you glad you waited?” Yes, I am, Lord. Yes, I am.1
  • Enough cryptic stuff. This week is the 20th anniversary of my youth community. I came from a reunion of all YFC alumni last night and saw so many familiar faces and felt so nostalgic that I can’t help but reminisce about my years as a Youth for Christ member. I remember my post two years ago about community, and how I miss it and I’m just amazed at how everything has panned out. I won’t be the same person that I am now if I never became a YFC member, just as how I won’t be the same person I am now if I didn’t stay away for a long time and came back again. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing that is CFC Youth for Christ, and CFC Singles for Christ, too. Thank You, Lord, for giving me this home. ♥
  • I’m going to the beach tomorrow with some people at work to surf. Yes, surf. I have no idea how I’ll do, if I will love it, or if I will get wiped out n times…but I am looking forward to it. Here’s to trying new things. (Yes, I promise to try and blog about it.)

Easter is all about victories, and I realized during Easter Sunday mass that even small victories are worth celebrating. After all, Easter didn’t come with too much grandeur. We just know it’s a big thing because hey, Jesus is risen, but it didn’t need all too many flashy stuff to raise its significance. It was a quiet and solemn, and it reminded me that the little things are the ones that really count and are the most beautiful things. So it also follows that small victories would lead to big victories, right? Just like Easter.

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  1. And did you count how many times I wrote “quite” in this paragraph? :P []