Linda Kracht reiterates the Easter lesson that inspires us to teach our children the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
Easter! What a joy to be able to celebrate it in person this year and in Church with song and fragrant flowers! Recently, a reverend and congressman remarked on national news that Easter is much more than about the Risen Christ. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, we have to assume that he was misquoted because the Resurrection is the essence of the season! Jesus rose from the dead - not one of us can do that on our own!
We are currently visiting New Orleans, and the Resurrection story was highlighted in part by a visit to their cemeteries. New Orleans buries their dead above ground, and in very large marble mausoleums! These structures naturally remind us that not one of us can rise from the dead - on our own. Who will unseal our tombs - also of concern to Mary Magdalen. Back to the lesson from New Orleans: each cemetery tomb contains many deceased family members - upwards of 500 in some cases! After interment of a body, the tomb must remain sealed for a day and a year by order of the Catholic Church and the State of Louisiana. I wondered to myself how even a dozen caskets could possibly fit in most tombs; but we soon learned how it is possible. Bodies are not embalmed in New Orleans. Also, because the mausoleums naturally reach more than 300 degrees on the inside, bodies disintegrate quickly. Each interred body is effectively cremated within the required year and a day time frame before the tomb can be reopened to receive another body.
When the tomb is re-opened, the previous interred body has now turned to ashes, which are then placed in a bag with the other ashes and left in the back of the tomb. Ashes are proof positive that the only person to rise from the dead was Jesus. And He did this on Easter Sunday! Alleluia!
All of us need to regularly contemplate the gift of everlasting life that is promised to us after our life ends. To appreciate this, we have to appreciate how faith, hope, and love make this journey and destination possible. Let me leave it there with another anecdote from our visit to New Orleans.
On Easter Sunday, we attended Mass at the Assumption of Mary Church of the Parish of St. Alphonsos, which is also home to Redemptorist priests. The officiant of the Mass was a visiting Redemptorist missionary whose name we missed. His sermon was rousing and similar to a revivalist, evangelist’s style. It lasted more than 30 minutes but we all sat mesmerized. He wrapped up the sermon with the following Easter lesson which I will try and recapture for you.
There was a baseball game between Satan and God and the game was tied in the ninth inning. God’s team had last bats. God called Moses up to bat since he had introduced God’s moral laws to the people. Moses struck out. Next, God summoned Isaiah up to bat since he taught about God’s love. But he also struck out. God knew that this was the last at bat and crucial to winning the game against Satan. So He called up Jesus, who was waiting in the tomb. Jesus is still obedient to His Father - even after His sacrifice! Jesus steps up to the plate and hits a grand slam. His hit brought home the three on-base runners - Faith, Hop,e and Charity. Together, they won the game against Satan!
The moral of the story is that we need Jesus to knock us home while playing the game of life. But we also need the help of His three authentic virtues to win the game of salvation. These virtues prevent any prevailing winds from blowing us here and there. These winds test our mettle but the virtues reinforce us! The winds lie about where they come from however, Faith, Hope and Love help us see where we come from! They help us to love authentically, They help us to understand the essence of Easter. They help us to avoid vice that is rife in every city, nation and state. These winds have brought the Archdiocese of New Orleans to its knees in bankruptcy courts. It is not helpful to see a gated King Louis XIV Cathedral all locked up while immediately next door a lingerie /adult store opens wide its doors. Parents are confused about how to teach their children about faith, hope, and charity in all the right ways when faced with so many headwinds and so little instruction about truth, faith, hope, and love.
Let me leave you with an uplifting message from Kristin Hannah's book, The Four Winds:
She had counted on a lifetime to teach her children what they needed to know but she didn’t have that gift of grace and time. Still, she had given them what mattered; they were loved and they knew it. Everything else was decoration.
This is our job: to teach our children to know that they are loved and that they have an eternal destiny. Everything else is indeed just decoration and prevailing winds.
Copyright 2021 Linda Kracht
Images (from top): Bernard Spragg (2019), Flickr, Public Domain; copyright 2021 Linda Kracht, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Linda is a wife, mother of seven, and grandmother of 23. Linda is founder of Fortifying Families of Faith, LLC and her books include: Daughters Forever, Sons Forever; The Art of Breastfeeding, published by the Couple to Couple League; Mothers Forever, Fathers Forever; Surviving College; Black and White; and A Book for All Seasons.