Whoa! That was a huge week. School holidays, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Stations of the Cross, some massive Easter liturgies and then finally - Easter Sunday. It seems to have all gone so fast! Before you know it - it’s Easter morning and you’re neck-deep in chocolate eggs and self-induced tummy aches. I’m going to confess- I may have eaten chocolate for dinner for the last two days #noregrets! It may to take a while to work through it all.
But now that all the waiting and fasting of Holy Week is over, ‘what’s next?’ Here’s a few simple tips for the weeks ahead…
1) Share your chocolate stash
One important lesson I didn’t learn until I was an adult (now that I don’t get as much chocolate as I did when I was a kid) is that I have to ration my chocolate out to make it last as long as possible. Although don’t do what my sister did and hoard it for years until it goes mouldy - chocolate does have an expiration date people! But here’s a crazy idea - instead of working through your stash of gold in front of the TV watching the final season of Reign, how about sharing it with the world – or at least a sibling? Surely that’s got to be more in the Easter spirit - and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
2) Keep Up Your Good Habits
I’m guessing over Lent you may have started praying a bit more, given to the poor, gone to youth group and even attended Mass a few times during Holy Week. I really want to encourage you to keep these things up- even though it’s now term two and study is about to get hectic! Just remember the sacrifice Jesus made to be in a relationship with you and to bring you closer to him. Jesus suffered through the passion, died for our sins, and rose again to bring us to new life. So maybe 10-20min of prayer a day isn’t such a huge deal after all, hey?
Still believe you ‘don’t have enough time’? There’s so many articles out there that talk about ‘meditation as a way to de-stress’. That’s exactly what prayer does! Prayer gives you time away from the busyness of life to come to God and say “Hey God - I’m super anxious about this exam. Can you help me?”. Lent was a great time of preparation and focussing on Jesus’ sacrifice, but now we’re in the season of Easter it’s just as important to maintain that deeper relationship we have built up.
So don’t be tempted to go back to those pre-Lent habits of skipping Mass and only talking to God when you feel like it. Even that special thing you ‘gave up’ or ‘took on’ for Lent (mine was self-criticism in mirrors: super hard!) - now is a great time to keep that up! Don’t get distracted and let those great new habits you’ve developed slip. (Unless you gave up chocolate - you may go back to doing that). Keep up praying, journaling, giving to others, attending Mass and doing all those great things you took on for Lent. We all want to draw closer to God in our lives, and Easter is the perfect season to do that. Remember, you have the strength to do anything, especially through Jesus and his resurrection!
3) Celebrate and Be Happy
I know this sounds so cliché- but seriously, Jesus is alive and risen from the dead! We just celebrated the greatest miracle of all mankind!! Our sins are eternally forgiven. We are no longer separated from God; He has sacrificed his only Son for us. Isn’t that amazing?!
Besides, it’s the start of a new term, and you’re hopefully well rested from the holiday - or if you’re in uni, just kicking into your mid-semester break. Woooo! Don’t just live each day like you did before. This isn’t just another day, another term, or another class. What’s different? Jesus is risen! This is a time to be happy, celebrate, be kind, reach out and know that you are loved and a King died for you!
These are three tips at least I will be implementing throughout the rest of the year. I know I won’t always be perfect at achieving them (especially perhaps number one- whoops!). But despite my weaknesses and failures, I know that God loves us me, Jesus is risen and His Spirit is living in me. Nothing can take that away.