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Thursday, July 19, 2018
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Holy Spirit Interactive: Deacon Thomas Frankenfield : Living and Sharing the Graces of Christ's Resurrection

Living and Sharing the Graces of Christ's Resurrection

by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield

The Journey

Once again we joyfully embrace the Resurrection of our Lord in the Easter season. The 50 days of Easter are times that many of us do not capture and enjoy as our Catholic Church wishes for us to do. For many, the week after Easter is one of joy but as the days continue, we drift into our daily routines, without embracing and enjoying the real fruits of the gift of a complete Easter season. So the fundamental question for us to consider is, "How do I live the fullness and completeness of an Easter Season that I have conscientiously prepared for during the forty days of Lent?'

My Personal Journey

As I write this reflection, I am very aware that I have not given the Easter season the energy that it deserves in order for me to reap the bountiful benefits of grace that the Church and God have available to me. In order to appropriately reflect on this area for improvement, I consider my actions and attitudes.

The most obvious evaluation is looking at my actions as compared to Lent. During Lent I fasted, prayed and shared my treasures all the while looking towards Easter. Honestly, I see myself as thinking of Easter as the spiritual finish line. In that light, I judge my Lenten preparation in quantitative terms. I ask myself, "...how many times have I failed my fasting?" or "...how much time have I spent in prayer?" All of these are only measured in the context of the 40 Days of Lent. I rarely look beyond Easter Sunday, so often I miss many of the fruits of Lent's hard work. I am focusing on the dark and not the light.

I remember leaving a movie theater and walking into a dazzling afternoon sunlight. My first reaction was to go back into the dark theater because the light was too much for my eyes. I had to wait until for my eyes to adjust. How much more dazzling is the Resurrection. We need to call people into the light and help them to overcome the temptation to choose darkness. The Resurrection of Christ is an eternal call into the light of Christ. So, how do I experience the brightness of this empty tomb in my life?

The empty tomb of the Resurrection was a beginning for all humankind and changed the world for all eternity. So, in this spirit of the empty tomb, I strongly we feel that the Lord would have us look at Easter as the total opposite of the finish line - yes, a starting line. So, Easter People are the people of the beginning.

Christ is Risen...Rejoice and Be Glad

One of the most important responsibilities of Easter People is to embrace the Lord's victory over death and then act accordingly. Easter People don't live in the darkness of our broken world but live in the light of Christ. In other words, Resurrection of the Lord allows us to be aglow in the Holy Spirit. It is a glow given to us by the Spirit so that others can be called through us into the light of Christ. That may mean a variety of things to different people but for me it means identifying the positive flows of grace in my life. My positive attitude is a dramatic change for today's culture. In a culture of negativity and gossip, we express positive attitudes and show loving behaviors. In a world of "me first", we Easter People are confident enough to live for others by making "Jesus first."

In Psalm 118 we pray, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!" (Psalm 118:24) Truly everyday is a gift from God but the 50 days of Easter are very special gifts. During these 50 days, the People of God are called to live the Resurrection of Christ-to demonstrate how life really does flow from death. We all have the joyful task of showing how the dark crosses in our lives give way to the brightness of empty tombs. This is radical. This is transforming. Most importantly, it is to be shared with a broken world. Jesus' defeat of the death transformed His suffering and sacrifice into a powerful stream of grace that travels from this world into the eternal life of heaven. So, when we live our relationship to the Risen Lord to its fullest, we are sailors on this stream of grace

Living the Resurrection Today Many now ask, "How is the power of the Resurrection lived in my life?" First and foremost, be alive in the glow of the empty tomb by truly forgiving others who hurt you. In overcoming death, we are called to rise above those areas in our lives that can poison and decay our relationships. St Paul calls us to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

  1. Forgive those who hurt you. Life in the power of Resurrection goes beyond the pain of relationship crucifixions by forgiving and allowing ourselves to love and be loved. Bring all with whom you quarrel can into the light of Resurrection. Let the empty tomb call you forth to forgiveness!

  2. Be a conduit of sacred presence. When a friend comes to us with a problem, let go to the Holy Spirit. Let the transforming grace of the Spirit flow through you and your life so they can experience the fullness of Resurrection graces.

  3. Rejoice in the People of God. Another way is to rejoice in the beautiful diversity of the People of God. Easter people, make every effort to embrace and celebrate our differences. From gender, to racial and socio-economic stratification to the pains caused by our dissimilarities in faith, Easter people respect everyone and strive for dialogue, in order to rise to new life.

A Call to Change

So, once again we are called to change. The Lenten sacrifice has impacted our hearts and minds, to make us more open to live the Resurrection's Light. We are bearers of the light and the light restores hope. The Easter season is truly a season of hope. My brothers and sister, we all know how hope can be easily stolen in people's lives by cultural influences. Embrace the empty tomb and overcome death! Each of us is called to take personal responsibility for bringing the Resurrection's hope to others.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. Teach us to rejoice and be glad. Anoint us to be your messengers of hope!

For Your Reflection

From a Ministry Perspective:

  1. How are you bringing the Easter message of hope to the people you are serving?

  2. What are your personal obstacles showing other that the 50 days of Easter are a truly a season of hope?

From a Family Perspective:

  1. Are you bringing the Easter message of hope to your family? Listen to your family's words and look at their actions. Are they living death or new life? How can you bring hope into those areas?

  2. Select one person in your Domestic Church to walk with in the newness of life. Do something special with them every day-show the positive impacts of the Resurrection's graces.

I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.

Deacon Tom

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