Buona Pasqua! Buona Pasqua means Happy Easter in Italian. I can remember, as a young boy, walking to Holy Rosary Church on Easter morning with Grandma ‘Noni, my brother Mike and cousin John Dean. It was cold and barely light out, but Grandma’s faith was very strong and we weren’t going to be late for 6:30 Mass. Not on Easter Sunday, it was too important to her. That is why I thought it would be nice to say Happy Easter in her native language.
Grandma ‘Noni passed her strong Catholic faith down to my Dad, who in turn did the same with me. Grandma and Dad played major roles in making me aware of the significance of our faith. Without it, there really is no point in anything. I seriously believe that.
Easter is the most important day on the Catholic calendar. It is the time where we celebrate the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. This monumental day is preceded by Lent, a season of self-examination, alms giving, fasting and abstinence in preparation for our Easter observance.
I know - a lot of long fancy words. Let me simplify the fasting and abstinence part with the help of my friend Patty. Before writing this, I asked her what Lent meant to her. She said, “Lent means sacrificing something you LOVE, (not beets or something silly) because Jesus made the ULTIMATE sacrifice for US!”
That says it all in a nutshell, don’t you think? Thank you, Patty.
For me, the self-examination part is praying and meditation which (hopefully) leads to being a better person and doing what is right. This takes a lot work and self-discipline. It isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to dying on a cross.
As far as alms giving goes, this doesn’t necessarily mean writing a check to your parish or making a contribution to the Salvation Army. While those definitely qualify, there are many other ways to give. Some of which you may not even realize you are already doing.
Things like taking a sick friend or relative to their medical appointments, helping those less fortunate by donating clothing or merely keeping a lonely person company. All of these are things that come from the heart, a giving heart.
Perhaps I had better stop here. Please don’t think that I believe that the Catholic way is the only way. I’m not that naïve and I’m definitely not that arrogant. I’m just giving my slant on Easter, Lent and faith in general, which in my case happens to be Catholic.
The only point I want to make is that everybody needs to have faith in something bigger. To think that everything in our world is pure happenstance is foolish. There has to be more to it than that. There just has to be.
Whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Lutheran, Buddhist, Muslim or belong to the Church of England, please believe. Life here on earth is much too short, there has to be more. There has to be.
We all need to believe. Without believing, there is no point.
Grandma ‘Noni and Dad believed and they taught me to believe. Thanks, Grandma and Dad, I love you both. Buona Pasqua!
Until next time…from the booth.