Remember Your Song…A Playlist to Help!

Happy Easter! And happy Easter for the next 45 days! Remember that the Easter season is the longest liturgical season in the Church year. It lasts for 50 days, ending on Pentecost Sunday. I love the Church tradition and theological significance behind the liturgical calendar, and I found a helpful summary article for those who want to understand better the calculation of the Easter season and its impact on the rest of the liturgical year.

Obviously, Easter is everything for us Christians. Easter is the reason for our faith and the fulfillment of every promise throughout salvation history. We need to keep celebrating the joy of the Resurrection in intentional ways throughout this season. I find that one of the best ways to sustain the focus and meaning of a liturgical season is through music. Well-selected playlists help to create an atmosphere in my home that reflects the current liturgical season; so I have made an Easter playlist, and I’m sharing it with you!

I created the list on Spotify, and you can play it there by clicking the link. If you don’t use Spotify, the list of songs is below for you to either purchase or find in a different subscription music service. I have selected songs that celebrate the joy and hope that we have in the Resurrection, from a variety of musical styles and artists.

Each of these songs is a beautiful reminder to me of the endless reasons to praise God throughout this season — and always! We have a redeemer; his name is Jesus. Because he lives, we have eternal hope. Because he lives, our whole lives can be a beautiful melody that praises him in the present and looks forward to the promise of eternity. We are meant to make a joyful noise to the Lord, and these songs are ones that fill me up to overflowing and help to fix my heart on what is really important, what is central.

Sometimes we forget to sing; sometimes we forget that we (in our daily lives) are supposed to be participants in the eternal song of praise to our Redeemer. That’s why the 50-day liturgical season of Easter is really a gift from the church, as every liturgical season is. These seasons help us remember our song and remember to sing it. Let us not forget St. John Paul II’s words:

“We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

He is risen! Hallelujah!

Because He Lives

For the last several days, and especially on this eve of Easter, I have been reflecting on the significance of tomorrow. As we end our fasting, eat good food, and gather eggs, we can celebrate without giving enough thought to why we are celebrating. Or perhaps we think about it, but the way that we live poorly reflects what Easter means for our lives. If you are a Christian, then you must realize that Easter has changed the trajectory of our lives’ for eternity. Easter is everything.

Matt Maher’s song, Because He Lives (Amen), convey’s this truth so powerfully:

“Amen, Amen. I’m alive, I’m alive, because he lives…let my song join the one that never ends.”

Are we singing along with the unending chorus? Are we living to the tune of eternity? Because Jesus lives everything is different — everything. Every pain is comforted; every hope is realized. We were dead; now we are alive. Are we living fully alive? We were filled with fear; now Peace himself is here to dwell in us. Are we at peace? Our cause for despair is, in the light of his resurrection, now reason to hope. Do we exude hope in this world? Continue reading “Because He Lives”

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Short Story by Flannery O’Conner”

How are you doing on your picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge? As promised, I’m sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. 

Category: A Short Story by Flannery O’Conner

My Pick: A Good Man is Hard to Find

I’m a Flannery fan girl. I had read the collection of short stories titled Everything that Rises Must Converge, but I had never read A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. So that was an obvious pick for me.

If you have never read O’Conner, she is jarring — but on purpose. All of her stories have some element of violence in them, which brings about some redemptive purpose or conversion in the character(s). Violence is her path to redemption, because it gets a person’s attention.

In this story, as in many of her others, characters seem to be going about life stuck in a sort of “malaise” (to use Walker Percy’s term). The intentional violent elements serve to wake them up — and wake us (the readers) up too.

O’Conner is not everyone’s cup of tea, and I get that. But I think some people sometimes miss the intentionality of her use of violence in story, therefore, missing the underlying message completely. Her stories don’t fit into a paradigm of “nice Christianity” — a polite, don’t-rock-the-boat, comfortable life with faith as an accessory. No, Flannery’s stories are not nice; but they actually are not tragic and terrible either.

A frequently repeating message throughout her fiction is that there are things much worse than a violent end, and many people live with those things in their mundane daily lives. Her stories turn the paradigm of “nice Christianity” on it’s head. For a violent end that brings with it conversion is actually not a tragedy, but is salvation. For O’Conner, the tragedy is the life lived in the haze of self-sufficient modernity, ignorant of the alternative. When I read Flannery’s short stories, I see her trying to save her characters from themselves, to save us from ourselves, and to save society from itself. Try reading her with that persepective in mind, and see what you take away.

What O’Conner short story did you read for the #2017catholicreadingchallenge? If you are posting your pick on social media, remember to use the hashtag!