For a long time, Easter Sunday meant no more to me than the day my brothers and I reluctantly got out of bed and put on over-starched shirts so we could arrive at our local church for 7:30 a.m. Mass. Trapped in what we thought was a seemingly endless cycle of sitting, standing, kneeling (repeat), all we wanted to do was run home, for we knew that, if we were lucky, the Easter Bunny had come and left plastic eggs in the backyard for us to find and discover their mysterious contents. In other words, The Mystery was a complete mystery to me.
Now, when the spring rains come and the wind carries the smell of fecund earth, I don’t think about having to wake up early and putting on a suit. I think of the Greek myth of Persephone who, returning from her stay with Hades in the Underworld, signals the end of winter and the beginning of new life on earth. I think of the rabbit, that fertile animal who symbolizes the coming of spring. I think of the egg, that really simple yet powerful symbol of fertility, purity and rebirth, and of new life breaking through the eggshell much as Christ came forth from the tomb. I think about how these eggs were originally stained red, as in the postcard above, in memory of the blood Christ shed during the Crucifixion for us.
The most important of Christian feasts, Easter, “the great day,” celebrates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has given us new life by dying for our sins. I wish this time of the year reminds you, too, what a gift of hope the light of spring is after so much winter darkness.
Easter – Dig Deeper:
Here are just a few of the resources on Easter available at Falvey:
An excellent and exhaustive study treating the histories and comparisons of Passover and Easter. Recommended for undergraduates and graduate students alike.
Written by Pope Benedict XVI, this title discusses the meaning of the Easter season, the birth, death, passion and resurrection of Christ, and more, in a very meditative style.
A collection of Poems written by Pope John Paul II before he became Pope.
A very short and highly accessible introduction to what Easter means and why we celebrate it.
A very thorough collection of texts with commentary on Easter in the early church from Jewish, Greek, Latin and New Testament writers.
Explores how the Gospels vary on what happened at the empty tomb of Christ and provides careful discussions of the origins of Easter.
This papal address and blessing Urbi et Orbi (“to the City [of Rome] and the World) was given by Pope Francis on Easter in 2013 and explains how Easter is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness.
Warmest wishes on Easter from everyone at Falvey Memorial Library.
Alexander Williams, ’11 MA, is the temporary librarian liaison to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a research librarian on the Academic Integration and the Information and Research Assistance teams. He is currently pursuing an MS in Library and Information Science at Drexel University’s iSchool.
Our Dig Deeper series features links to Falvey Memorial Library resources curated and provided by a librarian specializing in the subject, to allow you to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of seasonal occasions and events held here at the Library. Don’t hesitate to ‘ask us!’ if you’d like to take the excavation even further. And visit our Events listings for more exciting upcoming speakers, lectures and workshops!