The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
I recall from years ago giving up laughing for Lent. It was the most miserable Lent of my entire life. That experience brought back memories of my life as a teenager when I meditated on my name, Easter, and how I was living my name. I realized how unhappy I was. I didn’t have Easter joy in me.
From that moment on, I made an effort to live a life that reflected the Resurrected Jesus – a joy-filled life. Guided by the Holy Spirit, I resolved to focus on the following:
First, I made sure that I never skipped Sunday Mass. Jesus became my daily food and companion in school. I fell in love with him in the Eucharist, became a lector, and joined a group of Catholic men and women who shared my beliefs. I married my high school sweetheart and found myself learning new priorities. I welcomed conversions. When I became a mother, I took my five children to daily Mass. It was the peak of our day.
Second, I made an effort daily to connect with God in prayer. Prayer, I realized, is a basic foundation of life. In prayer I learned to be more intimate with God. Like St. Theresa of Avila who is my favorite saint, I tried different ways of praying. I’m still learning to this day and am gradually learning to listen more closely to the movements of the Holy Spirit. I’m learning to be quieter in order to discern whispers of inspiration from God. I have also learned to test those whispers of inspiration.
Third, I discovered and rediscovered the joy of getting to know Jesus through Scriptures. Our Mass is so rich with the Liturgy of the Word that one becomes so immersed in it, so much so that our actions instinctively follow God’s voice in Scriptures. Reading the Bible outside of Mass, even if they are just short verses, added to the daily joyful dose of raising five children and homeschooling them. When inspired, I wrote reflections in my journal.
Fourth, I realized the importance of discipleship – witnessing through our life with the way we think and the way we act. It means not being afraid or worried about what people would say, but instead, being concerned with doing what pleases God. Now that our children are grown, my husband and I focus on serving at church. During the Covid-19 crisis, I have been volunteering for Kupuna Needs Project by helping to provide food and household items to our seniors.
We have five grandchildren, an assurance of God's love and blessings. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that one possesses even when things around us are chaotic. It is what our saints experienced as they served God. It doesn’t just happen. One has to make efforts in connecting with God, building a relationship with him, doing what pleases him – meeting him halfway after He calls us by name.
By: Easter Almuena
April 12, 2020