What to do with these 50 Days?

What to do with these 50 Days? April 3, 2024

Happy Easter!  He is risen!

Now what?

Easter is fifty days.  However, unlike Lent (40 days) and Advent (4 Weeks) and Christmas (12 days), we don’t have a calendar or candles or scheduled rituals other than mass to really mark the reality of these sacred days.  There are devotions and traditions but not specific elements that uniquely celebrate this time of joy as we do for Christmas (gifts, feasts, songs), and it makes this time rather parallel to the time for the apostles –they didn’t know either quite what to do.

This first week however, is easy.  We have the Divine Mercy Sunday approaching, and even if you haven’t started the Novena of Divine Mercy, jump in and start now.  I’m queen of the Octovena, Septavena, Sextavena, Quincavena, Quartrovena, Trivena, Duovena and just, well I prayed it today Novena.  If any novena is going to be sympathetic to the fallen soul who gets up again, and tries even if he or she forgot yesterday, it’s the Divine Mercy Chaplet. 

I love the song version of this prayer because it prevents me from rushing.  The chaplet is not long, but we can begin to speed pray because it is short.   Counsel I’ve been given in my own prayer life is “persist.”  When you fall, get up.   It is one of the first lessons of Easter for the Apostles.  Jesus comes to them, and helps them stand, helps redirect them when they’re going in the wrong direction (today’s readings).

That gives us som guiding for the care of days 2-7.

But how do we live as Pope John Paul the II said in his Angelus of November 30, 1986?
“We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”. We are not looking for a shallow joy but rather a joy that comes from faith, that grows through unselfish love, that respects the “fundamental duty of love of neighbour, without which it would be unbecoming to speak of Joy”. We realize that joy is demanding; it demands unselfishness; it demands a readiness to say with Mary: “Be it done unto me according to thy word”.”

We need structure or we drift from day to day –if 2020 has taught us anything.  So to be mindful, awake, and aware of our mission as an Easter people means “deliberate.”

And it struck me, the rosary is 50+ Hail Mary’s. Yes, we have the creed and the Our Father, but what if, you decided to each day, do a part of the rosary, so that even if you couldn’t manage the marathon of the prayer, you could take steps, deliberate steps towards His mother by surrendering a few minutes. It consists of One Apostles Creed, six Our Fathers, six Glory bes’, 53 Hail Marys & one Hail Holy Queen and five Fatima prayers plus the final prayer.  Throw in the meditation on each of the five mysteries he grand total comes to 88 for a single round on the rosary beads.  If you want to pray all four sets of mysteries, you get to 352 prayers.

That’s a lot of petitioning Heaven. I’m sick, I’m in the hospital, there’s no Food Network to distract me so you get more writing, but I am reduced to doing math.

However, when you break all of it down so that say you will get to each of the mysteries from Easter to Pentecost, it breaks down to 7.04 prayers a day –very doable.    Yes I double checked with a calculator because I don’t trust my brain even when fully healthy.

But seven prayers a day…that’s a way to get there, slowly, deliberately, and if you fall, if you forget, if you get lost, get up.  Just keep going.

So we’ve got our prayer plan.   Is there anything else we should be doing?

Yes.  You knew there would be more –didn’t you?  Because there’s always more.

Love expands outward to infinity.  So we must do likewise with our words and our deeds.   If you blew it on the fasting during Lent, consider adopting a Friday surrender –just a little thing –again, we’re being deliberate with little things, to remind ourselves of the time, of the reality, Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

That means we have work to do, to prepare our souls and help cultivate all we encounter to be able to hear His still small strong voice that can only be heard in the heart.   Fasting, more than anything else, helps us hear more.   So pick a little thing, write it down, with an intention, and keep it.  Every time you remember, remember the intention as well.  Every time you forget, get back up and begin again.  A friend of mine, once wrote of, “A cross of toothpicks.” and that’s what we’re talking about here, a little something of perservereance.

Let’s get to it. These 50 days will speed by, and we’re burning daylight.

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