Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

9 Ways to Live Easter Every Day

easter cross.jpg

The following piece is also featured as a Beliefnet gallery, which you can get to by clicking here.

One of my favorite scripture verses is John 20:15, when Jesus finds Mary Magdalene crying at the door of the tomb and says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” In that moment, Jesus isn’t asking a rhetorical question. He wants to know why we worry and sob and fret when hope is underneath everything, if we could just tap into it.


Easter is about liberation, and it’s especially meaningful for a person like me who feels chained to moodiness and negativity so much of the time. The celebration of the resurrection is a chance for us to say, “Yes, Jesus, I believe,” and in so doing, grab the hope that is already there. Here, then, are nine ways we might live the resurrection.

1. Go Ahead and Touch Him

“Why are you troubled?” Jesus says to the disciples in Luke’s gospel when he appears to them after his resurrection. “Why do questions arise in your hearts? Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

Now if I were one of those guys, not only would I be troubled, but I can guarantee I wouldn’t go near the hands and feet. I would be afraid that everything I told that Ouija board at a fourth grade slumber party was now starting to register there on “the other side.”


But I do find huge relief in Jesus’ reassurance that his resurrection is the real deal. This is not some Jesus-on-grilled cheese that got sold for a few thousand bucks on eBay. Jesus is real; the resurrection is real; therefore, his promises are real. That means we can trust him when he tells us that he will be with us until the end of age (Matt 28:20).

2. Know that God is Good

In the days before his death, Jesus repeats that he was sent on behalf of his Father. In fact, the wording in many of his miracles, especially the raising of Lazarus, points back to the goodness of the Creator: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed” (John 5:20).


Blessed Angela of Foligna, a 14th century mother and wife who later became a prominent mystical writer, wrote that “the first step that the soul must take when it enters the way of love, through which it desires to reach God, is to know God in truth…. To know God in truth is to know him as he is in himself, to understand his worth, beauty, sweetness, sublimity, power, and goodness, and the supreme Good inherent in him who is the supreme Good.”

I think that, right there–trusting that God is good and is there for us (unlike so many other people we know)–is the point of the resurrection. Is God good? Yes. We can say that with confidence because of the resurrection.

3. Turn It Over to Him


The third step of most 12-step recovery programs is to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.” The first three steps, which are the most important, can be summed up this way: “I can’t” (first step), “He can” (second step), and “I think I’ll let Him” (third step).

Or if you want to take a more sophisticated route, read Saint Thomas’ words: “Sanctity consists in nothing else than a firm resolve, the heroic act of a soul abandoning herself to God. By an upright will we love God, we choose God, we run toward God, we reach Him, we possess Him.”

Every time we tell God, “Take it from me,” we are living the resurrection, because we are remembering God’s promise that He will provide for us, that He didn’t leave His Son hanging, and that, despite what our inner skeptics might claim, He is truly trustworthy.


4. Cast out Fear

In Matthew’s resurrection narrative, an angel of the Lord appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the empty tomb and says to them, “Be not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” Later Jesus met the women and repeated, “Do not be afraid.”

Maybe, just maybe, what Jesus is saying here, is (surprise!) to not be afraid.

Not that casting out fear is an easy thing to do. But if we manage to do it, even in baby steps, we’ll get further away from the sorrow of the cross and closer to wonders of the empty tomb.

As the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote, “Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves.”


5. Go Public

Another repetition in all the resurrection accounts is Jesus’ commandment to go tell it on the mountain. Even if you risk looking like a fool, tell people that the resurrection really happened. Not that we have to become annoying televangelists. But in everything we do and say, our words and deeds should always come back to the resurrection, spreading the hope of that story to everyone we meet.

6. Stay Humble

If Jesus is God, and there is only one God (assuming that you hang in monotheistic circles), then that means this: none of us is God.

That is another important truth of the resurrection: God became man; man didn’t become God. I know that I often get the two confused, especially when I’m on the phone with a health-care insurance representative, because I feel like I should have more power than I do.


The Christian mystic Catherine of Siena wrote, “Be small in deep and genuine humility. Look at God, who lowered Himself to your humanity. Don’t make yourself unworthy of what God has made you worthy of.”

Along with humility, then, comes our ability to become more than we are because of the resurrection. It’s like the makeover we can’t afford to have–but God can provide it for us if we believe in the empty tomb.

7. Walk the Road to Emmaus

I have always been intrigued by Luke’s story about the Road to Emmaus, when Jesus does exactly what I do to my kids when I want the real skinny on something: He plays dumb.

Two disciples are on their way to a village called Emmaus when Jesus approaches them and asks what they are talking about.


“Are you kidding me?” the one named Cleopas responds, “You really aren’t filled in on all the gossip that’s going down these days?”

The disciples continue to be a tad dense. They finally figure it out when Jesus sits down to eat with them and breaks bread. But as soon as they get smart to his presence, Jesus disappears.

We have an opportunity to walk the Road of Emmaus every day if we agree with Saint Leo the Great, who said, “To share Christ’s resurrection means not to be shackled by temporal things but to set our hearts on the eternal life he is offering us here and now…. Our resurrection has already begun in Christ, and he longs to lead us into the fullness of life and healing.”


8. Pray Always and Everywhere

My favorite line in Luke’s narrative about the Road to Emmaus is the way the disciples describe how they felt in the presence of the risen Lord. Luke 24:32 says. “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'”

The entire walk to Emmaus became a prayer in the same way that our commonplace, trivial tasks can become prayers. My patron saint, Therese of Lisieux, defined prayer as “an outburst from the heart; it is a simple glance darted upwards to Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and of love in the midst of trial as in the midst of joy.” That’s how we pray when we live the resurrection.


9. Recognize God in All Things

If Lent is about becoming quiet in order to hear God, Easter is about singing “Alleluia” with Him. And if the 40 days beginning with Ash Wednesday are about detaching ourselves from certain people, places, and things, in order to know ourselves more truly and love ourselves more fully, then Easter is about celebrating all the people, places, and things in our lives that promote goodness, beauty, and love.

“We can find God in everything,” wrote Pope John Paul II, “we can commune with Him in and through all things.” He is alive, and he is everywhere.

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  • Peg

    Therese, thank you for sharing your faith so eloquently and in down to earth words for us. It is so good to share what is in our heart as it validates what so many of us feel, too.
    HAPPY EASTER to you and your precious family. Peg

  • annie

    You have a wonderfull way of making the scriptures much easier to understand and relate to.Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Larry Parker

    As I said to you on the other comment box on this thread, while this is eloquent testimony (literally) to your faith, how does it make you different from Mother Teresa deciding to believe despite an utter lack of hope and being filled with despair? (Or as I put it, to hope without hope.)
    And how on earth (pun intentional) does one go about doing that?
    Happy Holy Week and Easter season …

  • Barbara formerly Babs

    Holy Week has been a blessed one. This meditation is balm for my soul.
    He is Risen! Risen, indeed!

  • marilyn

    you allways have a great way of explaining things.this is a blessed week.blessings to everyone.

  • Annie Turner

    Yhis’s a very inspirational piece. Things that have happen to me this week has differently put my faith in question. But this piece answered some of those questions. Thank you for that Therese.

  • Dawn

    Thank you for practical application of Christ’s reality.
    Thank-you for honest reflections on pain (which is why I ended up on this site) while still proclaiming the goodness of God.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    It’s seein g God in ALL thinhgs which is hardest for me. Oh, I can see him in the kindnesses and faith of others, but, like Larry, I’m more and more wrestling with where he is in the tragedies of life, both the big ones (Katrina and the Asian tsunami, for instance ad the more individual ones (the young pregnant woman near St. Louis who was tortured to deathRECENTLY or Megan Meijer who was bullied into such astate that she tried to commit suicide. I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to cry “Alleluia! in response to those events– not in the lives of others OR in my own life! I know some sau He can be ound in the responses of those who reach out to help in the aftermath of these kinds of troubles, and I can accept that, but whereis He in the event ITSELF? If He is indeed present in ALL things, why is it so hard to find Him in those awful events? Why are some fated to know immense earthly suffering while others seem to slide by without ever experiencing a single consequence? While I love both Easter and Lent, and found this post to be encouraging, the realities of life around me make it more difficult this year than it has been past Easter/Lents

  • Anonymous

    There is a blessing built into Everything that happens to us…

  • Nancy

    Dear Margaret:
    I read your post and could almost feel your pain and confusion as you asked where God is during the tragedies that happen to our world. While I have no “good” answer for you, perhaps a different way of looking at it will help. First, most tragedies happen because of choices we, as humans, have made. God gave us a beautiful world, but He also gave us free will. Eventually, we must endure the results of our choices like terrorism, global warming; pollution; diseases; murders, and all kinds of “inhuman” events caused by human choices.
    This may sound a bit selfish at first, but after you have prayed for the victims, also say a HUGE prayer of gratitude that God has spared you and/or your family from tragedy. That’s when you shout “Alleluia” to your God. That’s how you can see the hand God in even the worst circumstances. God didn’t cause the tragedy, but He did protect you and your family from it… so He was, indeed, there; and the proof is right in front of you because YOU are still here, too!
    For example, while I grieved for the victims of the New Orleans hurricane, I thanked God that he spared my son and his family who live there. God is good… and sparing my family was VERY good… so yes, I can see God in that tragedy.
    There is an equal and opposite side to everything: Light/dark, up/down, in/out, day/night, good/bad, happy/sad. When it seems impossible to see God’s presence, that’s when it’s good to fall back on our faith and just simply believe that God is the source of all Goodness, God loves us deeper than we can possibly understand, and He is everywhere…always!

  • Lynne

    Nancy L; I agree completely with your comment to Margaret. I also feel that God cries too when people are so cruel to one another but He cannot break his own rules. God is faithful, He cannot lie. Life happens to us and God helps us through our sorrows and shares in our joys. He has the final word on judgement day. There are no unsolved mysteries in heaven. He gives us enough rope to hang ourselves or pull ourselves to safety. He only holds the rope…we decide what to do with it.

  • Larry Parker

    But Nancy L.:
    While I’m glad your son and his family were OK, was his family holier than those who perished? If not, why were they spared — and how did G-d play a role?
    There’s still an element of theology missing here …

  • Nancy

    Just to clarify everyone on this post –
    it was from Nancy – not “Nancy L.” me
    I didn’t write it, in fact I just read it this evening (or morning)
    Nancy L.

  • Nancy

    If that had been me, I would not be able to see the good in God and in tragedies if only my son and his (not yet) family were spared while others were not.
    As grateful as I am when my children are kept safe, I do not get the inequities and injustices of suffering for all, and how some are spare in situations, while others are not.
    That has been an especially difficult concept for me to grasp in these days, as I agree with you Larry in general on this whole topic of some being spared and others, not. I don’t “get” God in the scheme of things.
    I can take that to another level with the loss of my health. Others who have not experienced chronic bad health and are running around living their normal lives, does that make them better that they have been spared?
    So Larry, I get your point, even though I wasn’t the “Nancy” who wrote the original post.
    Nancy L.

  • Paul

    Thank you for a wonderful reflection on ways to live the Resurrection. I used some of your thoughts combined with the Thursday, Mar 27 Gospel (Lk 24:35-48) for a Holy Hour reflection at our parish last night. You helped me see things I had missed in that Gospel and realize that Jesus is calling me to my own resurrection. Many blessings to you! Happy Easter!

  • sandieganliz

    From my very own perspective, all I can say with regards to FAITH is:
    I cry when I feel the utmost pain, fear, and loneliness, and, I cry when I feel too much joy, happiness, and hope.
    Life is beautiful- no matter the trials and tribulations. Death and aging are a natural process in Life in which all living things should not be afraid of. Change can be good or bad, but mostly, necessary. If we all learn there are things in Life which happen ‘just because,’ we may see more beauty, or, more sadness, but, either way, we are guaranteed a change.
    The history of Jesus’ story is striking–one can take it as a humble lesson, or, as an inquisitive journey; either way, there is a message of this Legend, and, it should be how Life is guaranteed on Earth, and, so is death–whether you are crucified for your beliefs, preachings, and choices, or you end in bad health, an accident, or, as a natural occurrence.

  • lightwithanS

    This was an absolutely beautiful thing to read first thing this morning. I often forget, as I’m going through my recovery and daily life, that it’s not just me at the wheel. God is in control.
    Since I am a Christian, I always get asked about God and Jesus and passages from the Bible. (I also speak Spanish – and my boyfriend will constantly ask me in public, “what are they saying”?) The two are on in the same – I don’t always know. This is a great passage to pass on to others.
    I read daily – thank you for all of your wonderful posts!

  • Elizabeth

    Oh I love this post. It makes me laugh — it makes me think– and it warms my heart.

    Thank you and Happy Easter,

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeanne

    Therese, this is one of your best posts ever and one I especially needed today. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

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