Let Him Easter in Us

Columban Sister Rebecca Conlon was one of the first groups to go to Pakistan on mission in 1990. She writes a beautiful reflection for Easter 2024. This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of the Far East Magazine.

The song, ‘The Dance of the Cherry Trees by John Spillane sets the tone for Spring, New Life and Easter whereby the “cherry tree puts on the most outrageous clothes” and sings and dances saying, “we have travelled all around the sun that has taken a whole year” and that is reason enough to dance and sing! Well done cherry blossoms in the air, on the streets, in your hair and at your feet! Well done everybody!

In Spring all nature wakes from its slumber with the new leaves budding as nature pushes up through the winter’s solid clay covering Mother Earth, outrageously dressed and we remember what Jesus said: “Not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these” (Matthew 6:29). Then we have the lambs dancing with joy, frisking around the fields reminding us of the Lamb of God. In the words of Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ creation once more becomes “charged with the grandeur of God”. It is an invitation for us to open our eyes and see the traces of God everywhere in the flamboyance of the beauty all around us.

This flamboyance is born out of darkness and is a transformative experience. It is about dying and rising and we humans share in the same pattern as all creation. Therefore, as we journey through life, nature can be our teacher, enabling us to trust our letting go from darkness into new life. Since last year our world has collectively experienced living in the darkness of the tomb: cold, lonely, unsafe, terror and fear through war, discrimination, injustice, violence, climate change and deaths.

This affected each one of us. We were plunged into terrible darkness all of our own doing. We wanted each day to get out of this tomb because each day seemed a deterioration of the previous one and all we could do was pray that through the cracks, the light of understanding and dialogue between nations and religions would happen and restore peace to our deeply divided and fractured world. When we look at the darkness of our own lives maybe we can ask the question that Valarie Kauer asked: “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?” What is our way out?

Hopkins in his poem ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’ talks of a shipwreck when five Franciscan nuns along with others drowned in freezing waters on their way from Germany to New York. He says:

Let Him EASTER in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.

He uses the word Easter as a verb in the present continuous tense, as it is an event that transforms us on an ongoing basis. When we roll back the stones that block us in our lives, and allow the Risen Christ to enter, then He has a chance to become the “dayspring to the dimness in us” and that of our world.  That is the road to transformation. Perhaps we can ask ourselves: can we allow ourselves be surprised by Resurrection, by allowing Jesus to Easter in us as He allowed Easter to happen in Him? Jesus is Risen and accompanies us on the road of life. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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The Columban Sisters are celebrating their 100th year anniversary this year. The Far East magazine is publishing a series of articles to mark the congregation's centenary year.

Read some of the articles here