Written on: April 13, 2022
Written by: Denise Roche, GNSH
As we prepare to rejoice enthusiastically at the “good news” of Jesus’ Resurrection, we carry within us the scars of loneliness and sadness which are also a part of our own lives. Through the Resurrection, God teaches us that, along with the setbacks and pain we encounter now, the fullness of love awaits us as we transform into the new life we shall share in God.
Easter is the season to remind ourselves that Resurrection lies ahead and that the seeds of it are with us now. As we celebrate with Jesus and thank God for letting us have Jesus to give us a human picture of God’s love, we must also remember that the scars of Jesus’ living and dying continued to be a part of his resurrected body. Easter gives us great hope and conviction that God is among us now and is drawing us ever closer to a transformed life of joy and overwhelming love. We are enfolded in the Paschal Mystery.
This year as we celebrate Easter, we are experiencing again the pain of death and loss becoming the magnificent joy of the Resurrection. We have lived with, loved and learned from our beloved Sister Mary Charlotte Barton. In recent months, we have been blessed to share with her the path which she embraced to her own suffering, death and participation in the Resurrection of Jesus. We have learned one last, important lesson from her.
Through her acceptance of and preparation for her own death, Sister Mary Charlotte has taught us that living is indeed a privilege and a responsibility, but that dying is also a part of life’s cycle and that we should not fear it, but embrace it. Sister believed that God’s loving arms were awaiting her and that the sadness at leaving would become her joy in entering new life in God.
As we watched the many visitors, calls and messages from those who loved Sister Mary Charlotte and wanted to share a precious few moments of her last days, I was reminded of the description of the time when St. Marguerite d’Youville was dying:
“She received the sacraments and settled into prayerful recollection which only visits from her sisters interrupted… She enjoyed chatting intimately with them. She encouraged them, consoled them, and gradually, prepared them for the approaching separation.”1
Sister Mary Charlotte also, with her characteristic gracious hospitality welcomed visitors even when her strength waned and her talking became difficult. Sister died quietly on April 7, 2022. Our grief at her dying has been turned into joy. Easter is the time for us to celebrate our beloved Sister Mary Charlotte, to be grateful for the time she spent with us and to be comforted by the confidence that she had and that we have that she is now welcomed into the heart of God.
While we feel the unbounded hope of the Easter message, we suffer at the same time with our Ukrainian sisters and brothers. We find it difficult to watch the brutal conditions that they are facing. Although we see bloodshed and death, we believe that Easter teaches us that it is entwined in the Paschal Mystery, that God is with them in their suffering and that life is stronger than death. Their heroic actions make us know that their efforts will be supported and sustained by God and that their courage will continue to be a sign for all of us that God is present in our suffering and our fear.
Through our prayer and with our deep confidence that God provides for those in need, let us remember our suffering neighbors in the Ukraine as we praise God for Jesus’ Resurrection which gives hope to all!
Enjoy a beautiful, happy Easter!
1 Love Spans the Centuries. Fauteux, SGM, Albina. Meridian Press 1987. pg. 265
Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt/Unsplash
For a printable copy Reflection for Easter Sunday