What Do you do the Day After Easter?

What Do You Do the Day After Easter???

Easter Octave Reflection

Today I start with music but be warned, after this lovely piece I am taking you on a slightly off-beat Easter Octave Journey. 

Bear with me on this reflection, it starts out strange. One of my indulgences and pleasures is original comic art. I enjoy particularly a series from my childhood

called Superboy, and The Legion of Superheroes. It is set in on 31st century Earth and was great fun. There was a Legion story written called The Great Darkness (an EPIC Star Wars type story, A Good Vs Evil battle which the heroes win). The story gained all type of critical acclaim.

You can see from the image above; the artist drew upon classical imagery such as the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. And as much as I love that story which spanned 5 issues, it is the Epilogue that captured my heart. It was called “What Do You Do the Day After Doomsday”

The cover is not your typical superhero action image

In fact, it also draws upon another classical image Michelangelo’s, the Pieta.

Basically, the issue tells in little poignant visual vignettes how the huge cosmic life changing events of The Great Darkness plays out in the lives of the different members of the team. One mourns his brother, one ends a relationship, one has the courage to start something new, one works with refugees displaced by the war, etc. etc.

Now by this stage, you probably think that I have been in isolation for too long, and you wonder where I am going with this…

But this story always reminds me of Easter Monday (and I reread it every year on this day.)

BECAUSE…

Easter Monday is THE DAY AFTER RESURRECTION, and because of Christ’s victory over death EVERYTHING CHANGES.

But the questions that we must journey with for these next days is, what does Easter mean to me? How do I need to change? What do I need to do, to GROW?

Will I allow Easter to have real life-changing implications in my life??

So, in the spirit of “The Day After” I want to examine the Octave of Easter.

Normally the day after Easter, Chocolate Eggs are on discounted sale, Easter Cards have been replaced by Graduation or Mother’s Day cards. But this year, we are moving at a slower coronavirus forced pace. And so are given a unique opportunity to participate in the Octave. Easter Sunday and the following seven days present a special time to bask in the glory of the resurrection.

The Octave of Easter is one of the lesser known liturgical celebrations in the Catholic Church. It includes Easter Sunday and the seven days that follow, culminating in the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday (also known as the Second Sunday of Easter).

Starting from at least the 3rd or 4th century, Christians began to extend certain feasts beyond the initial day. This meant that the joyous celebrations of Easter Sunday were prolonged and lasted a full eight days.

In fact, Christians treated each day in the octave as if it were Easter Sunday. This tradition has been preserved by the Roman Rite and many of the Eastern Rites, where the liturgical readings and actions of each day mimic what happened on Easter Sunday.The St. Andrew Daily Missal further explains the connection the Easter Octave had to the newly baptized members of the Catholic Church.

The Octave of Easter, during which formerly no servile work was done, was one continual feast. Each day the neophytes attended Mass at a [different church in Rome], at which they received Holy Communion. In the evening they went to Saint John Lateran for the Office of Vespers. Furthermore, the newly baptized would wear their baptismal gowns during the entire octave.

While these particular baptismal traditions are no longer practiced by the Catholic Church, the Octave of Easter remains a celebratory time for Christians around the world and is meant to be a joyous time to remain in the beauty of the Lord’s resurrection.

As with the way Christmas is celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Easter season only begins with Easter Sunday. It is a season for feasting, praising God and enjoying the company of family and friends. Gone are the fasting days of Lent! (Even the weekly Friday abstinence, which many Catholics practice all year long, is suspended on Easter Friday.) Now is the time to feast!

On Easter Sunday the atmosphere of the Church switches gears, and instead of a focusing on death and sorrow, the Church is alive and resplendent with joy. Jesus is risen! This is emphasized in a particular in many Eastern Churches. The week following Easter Sunday is called “Bright Week,” and refers to the light that Jesus has brought into the world. In biblical terms, Jesus rose on the “eighth day,” which symbolically represents the new creation and the promise of Heaven. Eastern Christians reflect on this promise of future joy by referring to “Bright Week” as “one continuous day.” Roman Catholics have a similar custom, treating each of the days in the Easter Octave as if it were Easter Sunday.

Fasting is strictly prohibited during this time, and it is in many ways a small foretaste of the glories of Heaven.

This week is also called by some “White Week,” and refers to an ancient practice where the newly baptized would wear their baptismal gowns during the entire week. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Second Sunday of Easter “was consequently known as dominica in albis (deponendis), the Sunday of the (laying aside of the) white garments.”

The whiteness of the robes and the wearing of white vestments also contributed to the name “Bright Week,” radiating a bright white inside the church.

Above all, the week after Easter is a time of intense rejoicing, reveling in the beauty and glory of Christ’s resurrection.

In fact, it also draws upon another classical image Michelangelo’s, the Pieta.

Basically, the issue tells in little poignant visual vignettes how the huge cosmic life changing events of The Great Darkness plays out in the lives of the different members of the team. One mourns his brother, one ends a relationship, one has the courage to start something new, one works with refugees displaced by the war, etc. etc.

Now by this stage, you probably think that I have been in isolation for too long, and you wonder where I am going with this…

But this story always reminds me of Easter Monday (and I reread it every year on this day.)

BECAUSE…

Easter Monday is THE DAY AFTER RESURRECTION, and because of Christ’s victory over death EVERYTHING CHANGES.

But the questions that we must journey with for these next days is, what does Easter mean to me? How do I need to change? What do I need to do, to GROW?

Will I allow Easter to have real life-changing implications in my life??

So, in the spirit of “The Day After” I want to examine the Octave of Easter.

Normally the day after Easter, Chocolate Eggs are on discounted sale, Easter Cards have been replaced by Graduation or Mother’s Day cards. But this year, we are moving at a slower coronavirus forced pace. And so are given a unique opportunity to participate in the Octave. Easter Sunday and the following seven days present a special time to bask in the glory of the resurrection.

The Octave of Easter is one of the lesser known liturgical celebrations in the Catholic Church. It includes Easter Sunday and the seven days that follow, culminating in the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday (also known as the Second Sunday of Easter).

Starting from at least the 3rd or 4th century, Christians began to extend certain feasts beyond the initial day. This meant that the joyous celebrations of Easter Sunday were prolonged and lasted a full eight days.

In fact, Christians treated each day in the octave as if it were Easter Sunday. This tradition has been preserved by the Roman Rite and many of the Eastern Rites, where the liturgical readings and actions of each day mimic what happened on Easter Sunday.

The St. Andrew Daily Missal further explains the connection the Easter Octave had to the newly baptized members of the Catholic Church.

The Octave of Easter, during which formerly no servile work was done, was one continual feast. Each day the neophytes attended Mass at a [different church in Rome], at which they received Holy Communion. In the evening they went to Saint John Lateran for the Office of Vespers. Furthermore, the newly baptized would wear their baptismal gowns during the entire octave.

While these particular baptismal traditions are no longer practiced by the Catholic Church, the Octave of Easter remains a celebratory time for Christians around the world and is meant to be a joyous time to remain in the beauty of the Lord’s resurrection.

As with the way Christmas is celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Easter season only begins with Easter Sunday. It is a season for feasting, praising God and enjoying the company of family and friends. Gone are the fasting days of Lent! (Even the weekly Friday abstinence, which many Catholics practice all year long, is suspended on Easter Friday.) Now is the time to feast!

On Easter Sunday the atmosphere of the Church switches gears, and instead of a focusing on death and sorrow, the Church is alive and resplendent with joy. Jesus is risen! This is emphasized in a particular in many Eastern Churches. The week following Easter Sunday is called “Bright Week,” and refers to the light that Jesus has brought into the world. In biblical terms, Jesus rose on the “eighth day,” which symbolically represents the new creation and the promise of Heaven. Eastern Christians reflect on this promise of future joy by referring to “Bright Week” as “one continuous day.” Roman Catholics have a similar custom, treating each of the days in the Easter Octave as if it were Easter Sunday.

Fasting is strictly prohibited during this time, and it is in many ways a small foretaste of the glories of Heaven.

This week is also called by some “White Week,” and refers to an ancient practice where the newly baptized would wear their baptismal gowns during the entire week. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Second Sunday of Easter “was consequently known as dominica in albis (deponendis), the Sunday of the (laying aside of the) white garments.”

The whiteness of the robes and the wearing of white vestments also contributed to the name “Bright Week,” radiating a bright white inside the church.

Above all, the week after Easter is a time of intense rejoicing, reveling in the beauty and glory of Christ’s resurrection.

To All Who Love Him

O God of the Universe,
you shed your glory, your majesty,
your omnipotence
to become human, as Jesus Christ--
to get close to us, to connect with us,
to be our role model and guide for living.

O God of the Universe,
you became the human Jesus Christ,
to know us, to feel all we feel,
to show us how much you love us
by taking within yourself all our sins.

O God of the Universe,
you felt not just one person's pain
but the pain of all of us,
to wash us clean and bond with us,
your creation, your children.

O God of the Universe,
you proved your transcendent holy power
by rising from the dead,
a sign that all of us who believe in You
will also rise to be with You eternally.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ
is the "Happy" in "Happy Easter."
Happy Easter to all those who love Him.

By Joanna Fuchs

 

If something as simple as a comic book causes me to stop, re-examine and look at what I am doing and why.  Causes me to appreciate the gift of life and the people in my life…

What works for you???

I have shared thoughts, prayers, music and poems these days so now I ask you to share your Easter memories, your Easter wishes and dreams.

Happy Easter,

Fr. Aidan

(We encourage readers to share briefly one of their Easter memories in the Comment session.)