Fourth Week of Easter

Look Out!

Let's recap: for the first three weeks of the Easter season, our exploration of spiritual peace has been predominately inward-looking:

  1. During the octave of Easter, we focused on peace with death. Each of us must face death alone, but Christ's Resurrection removes death's sting and permanence, leaving us at peace.
  2. Then during the second week of Easter, we delved into peace with God. Sin made each of us God's enemy, but in his Resurrection, Christ brought us into a relationship with God as Father and Friend.
  3. Last week, the third of the Easter season, we explored peace in our hearts. The Lord offers each of us freedom from confusion, anxiety, fear, and despair through his Resurrection.

It's important and necessary to look inward. But now, as we approach the midpoint of Easter Time, it's time to start looking outward. The spiritual peace of the Risen Christ does more than save and heal each of us individually. It also repairs and reorders relationships between people.

Peace with God and within ourselves should bring about peace with others. Christ's Resurrection is also the cause of peace between mankind and creation, peace within the Church, peace in the Kingdom of God, and peace on Earth. In some ways, this peace is for our present age; in other ways, it's for the age to come. We see (and help to bring about) the beginnings of Christ's peace here and now, and we await with hope its fulfillment in the general resurrection and the New Creation.

This week, we'll dwell on peace with others. How does the Resurrection effect our relationships with family, friends, strangers, enemies, and everyone?
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.