As Catholics, we are privileged to celebrate Easter in the company of Our Blessed Mother, she who stood at the foot of the Cross and therefore understands the glory and joy of the Resurrection of her Son better than anyone else ever has. Although it is not recorded in Sacred Scripture, Christian Tradition has long held that after Christ rose from the dead, he first went to console His Mother. Always having loved this idea, I want to celebrate Easter this year with a particular Marian focus. Our Lady can help all of us celebrate the Mystery of the Resurrection with greater devotion and joy.
In Valencia, Spain, during the Age of Faith, they celebrated a Mass “of the first apparition of Christ to the Virgin” on the first Sunday after Easter each year. How beautiful that must have been! (And apparently there is a Mass in the lectionary in the U.S. called “Mary and the Resurrection of the Lord” for use during Eastertide, with beautiful prayers focusing on Our Lady’s Easter joy.) All over Europe this theme of Our Lord’s visit to His Mother was well-loved as an artistic subject. As you can see, the above painting by Rogier van der Weyden is an example. May it help you pray well during the highest season of the Church Year, which is just around the corner.
Join me and celebrate Eastertide with Our Blessed Mother this year! To inspire your prayers and meditation, here are some suggestions:
- Crown Our Lady of Sorrows. Whatever image you have of the Sorrowful Mother, bring it to your home altar on Easter morning and crown it or surround it with flowers, gold/silver decorations, and other embellishments. (It is a very old custom that associates the image of the Sorrowful Mother with the joy of the Resurrection. In many countries the people would process with a painting of the Mater Dolorosa on Easter morning and meet with another group processing with an image of the Risen Lord to highlight the joy of their meeting again after such a sorrowful separation.) The sorrows of Calvary are all but forgotten on this holiest of mornings!
- Pray the Marian Easter chants: the Regina Caeli (this is the Marian Antiphon of the Easter Season), Concordi Laetitia (an Easter hymn that feels like a Christmas carol), and the Regina Caeli Jubila (another short and joyful four-verse Latin hymn.) All the sheet music is available for free in the Parish Book of Chant.
- Investigate the Marian theology of the Resurrection. Here are some brief thoughts from the late Fr. Hardon on the significance of the Resurrection to Our Lady. Soon-to-be St. John Paul II spoke about his thoughts on Christ’s mother being the first to experience the joy of the Resurrection in 1997. And for all of you lovers of Sacred Art, here is a blog post on the iconography of the first visit of Our Lord to Our Lady.
And of course, pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, letting Our Lady lead you through Easter and the next 50 days from her perspective. Hopefully we will all celebrate Easter more fruitfully taking the Blessed Virgin’s hand and looking at these mysteries with her eyes!
~~Pray for us, O Queen of Heaven, that our joyful celebration of your Son’s Resurrection
will glorify Him and prepare us for the joy that is to be ours in Heaven after our own resurrections at the end of time.~~