Here we are in the Easter Octave. How do you feel?
Feelings. Maybe that word makes you shudder, maybe it confuses you that I give it emphasis here, maybe you already feel yourself losing interest in this blog, maybe I feel tired of writing it after a sentence. No need to talk about feelings now let’s talk about facts.
Fact number one: I like doughnuts. Fact number 2: I loved my grandpa and the time I had with him. Fact number 3: my grandpa liked doughnuts. My grandpa and I, we called him Papa, had a great relationship. He was my inspiration and role model, the patriarch of a big southern family. He had a life of struggling to find truth in a world that offered him little comfort, aside from emptiness and pain. After being raised by a nanny with his own mother not carrying much and his father succumbing to the bottle, Papa began to care little for feelings. In his own life he found a struggle like his father, but in my time with Papa, he began to realize the joy and peace that came with being a good grandpa. I was blessed to know Papa after he went sober. Looking back I think that I reminded him a lot of some lost innocence of his, giving him hope. So what did we do? We ate doughnuts, among other things. I was a very pleased six year old when I managed to eat 8 doughnuts after mass in the parish hall. Papa thought that was mildly worrisome, but mainly funny. As a man that was insulin dependent among a plethora of other medications for the time I knew him, he had grown weary of some of the over complication of it all and sought a more simpler joy. (To pause for a moment, Papa should’ve eaten his vegetables. If you were hoping for this to be a blog about how you can abstain from green things you have hoped in vain, carrying on.) Papa felt as though there was much more than the “hype” of this world. He sought joy in the little things, like me and good food. He knew that it was only a matter of time before the medications stopped working, so why worry? Why wait to feel joyful? Instead be joyful! The opportunity was all around him, whether in his “little engineer” (me) or a fried piece of dough.
So back to my original question: How do you feel?
The question can be interpreted in a few ways. How do you feel, as in how do you feel Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually or otherwise. The other option is that we look at it as an analysis of how you allow yourself to feel. Before we go any further I’d like to clarify what I will use the word “feel” in reference to. Turns out there are a plethora of definitions from good old Merriam Webster, not to worry I found one that suits our needs: to have one’s sensibilities markedly affected by. To have yourself profoundly and complexly impacted and altered by, that may be a more understandable definition for this blog.
What do you allow to make you feel?
Have you let your senses grow numb to the ache for something more?
Do you search for fulfillment in the characters you watch on screen, hoping to feel what they feel?
Do you lock everything you could potentially feel into a vat as though it is a waste and not to be touched
Do you overthink how you feel?
Do you not give enough attention to how you feel?
Do I even know how I feel???
Woah! How did we get here? Why are we still asking questions? We just spiraled. We started off with something and it just flew off the handlebars with more questions. I find that my brain can often work like that. When not rightly ordered I simply go from one question to the next without resolving what I first set out to discover. That’s what happens when we process things with our feelings. If we do not push our processing to our reason we have shot ourselves in the foot. Processing purely through emotion would have had Peter go hang himself along with Judas. “That’s a decently severe assertion you’ve come to there, Elie.” I intended it to be, so that you may come to know as I have how dangerous it is to succumb to such a slothful approach of self knowledge.
What does any of this have to do with the Octave? I’m glad you asked, we are not called to feel joy in this season. Rather, we are called to be joyful. You may feel nothing this week. It may be as any other week is to you. Another day another online class to cheat in, another Zoom conference to attend, another *insert daily monotony.* This week, like any other week of being a Catholic is not about feeling. Let me set you free, if you didn’t cry at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Friday you are not a bad Catholic. If you did cry at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion you are not a perfect Catholic and vice versa. Our faith is not a faith of feeling, it is an ordered faith thus calling us to live ordered lives down to how we process. So think through what happened over the course of the Triduum. Jesus Christ, the Godman, bore the full weight of sin, died, conquered death, and then rose from the dead. I cannot type to show that I would be darn near shouting the end of that sentence in triumph. I’m a fiery guy, I get fired up, but that sort of reaction may not be appropriate as I try to explain Triduum to one of my Jewish friends. I am called to move my passion into reason before I act. Maybe a sentence of the beauty of this liturgical season doesn’t get you amped up like you’re on a few Bangs and a quad shot of espresso. That’s fine, we need people in this world calmer than myself. You are still called to move through your reason into joy and rejoicing. So rejoice!!! Ask the Lord for the grace to help you rejoice. He bore the full weight of sin for you, do you really think He won’t give you the grace you need to rejoice?
Do not let the monotony of this time be your melancholy, instead let it be your metanoia. Let this be your springboard into confidence in His plan for your life, no matter how you see it now. Take joy in the little things like doughnuts. Most importantly, remember that this world will not live up to the hype, ever. The next one, should we respond to His grace, will always. We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song, you have been set apart for a unique purpose that the Lord will not reassign. Go in Peace, for He is in you.