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Happy Easter to you!  I hope it was a day filled with joy.

Yesterday, we proclaimed, “Christ is risen!”  For the faithful it is the day that brings eternal hope to our lives.  It’s the day that reassures us there is a purpose to this life we live and all the struggles that accompany it so that one day we may be resurrected like Jesus and live with Him for eternity.  

But, how do you feel today?  Do you feel different than yesterday.? Or are you the same person you were a week, a month or a year ago?  For many, you’ve returned to work or, in some way, returned to your daily habits.  And, I’ll venture a guess, not all of those habits are completely virtuous.  I know, I’m there with you.

This morning I set my alarm and arose an hour earlier than I have been the last couple weeks.  A contractor was scheduled to show up early and begin remodeling the first floor of my house, and I wanted to make sure I had time for my morning prayer and meditation before they arrived.   As I read the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 14, 22-33) about Peter’s speech at Pentecost to the Jews of Jerusalem, my attention was brought to the contrast between the Peter of today and the Peter of last week, who, out of fear, denied Jesus three times.  

After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter changed.  He found courage to proclaim the name of Jesus and His death, and profess His resurrection to all of Jerusalem, even to those who were responsible for His crucifixion.  I’m sure Peter was still the same in many ways – gruff and impetuous – but his timidity had been replaced with fortitude.  He spoke boldly and with authority.  He was no longer afraid to be associated with Jesus, rather, he rejoiced in the opportunity.

So I wondered how my life might change.  Do I have what it takes to “proclaim Your death, O Lord, and profess Your resurrection” as I say every time I go to Mass?  And, then I realized I do have what it takes.  I was given the grace to be courageous in my faith when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  If you’re a confirmed Catholic, then you were given that grace, too.

Well, it’s one thing to say I’m going to be more courageous, but it’s a whole ‘nuther thing to do it.  Unsure exactly how I would do this today, I resolved to pray for the Lord to present me with an opportunity and, when He did, that I would rise to the occasion.  

In the meantime, I decided to read about the saints of the day.  Today is the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican friar from the 14th Century.  St. Vincent was a  tremendous preacher who converted thousands throughout Europe.  His efforts so built up the Church that he became the patron saint of those in the building trades.

As I finished reading about this great saint, there came a knock on my door.  It was the contractor’s crew arriving to start work.  We had a walk-around to show everyone the scope of the project and, then, as they were fetching their tools from their truck, it hit me:  God had just presented me with the opportunity for which I had prayed.  It was no mere coincidence that a crew of building tradesmen were beginning to work in my house on the feast day of their patron saint.  And, so, as they all gathered back inside I asked them if they would mind if I prayed for their safety and to a successful project.  I explained the connection with St. Vincent Ferrer, and they bowed their heads with me.  I prayed, “Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to praise You and for the virtues of patience and perseverance that have brought us to begin this project.  I pray for the intercession of St. Vincent Ferrer, that he watch over these workers and keep them safe from harm, and that this project goes smoothly and successfully.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ our risen Lord.  Amen.”  And, then, in my mind I also prayed, “And, please, let their be no cost overruns!”

I love how God works for us when we love and trust in Him.  Don’t let this Easter go to waste.  Through prayer, place your love and trust in Him, and accept, realize and act on the grace of fortitude given to you in your Confirmation to proclaim the name of His Son, Jesus, to the rest of the world.

“Lord Jesus, thank You for this blessing today.  I pray that, in our fallen society, this Easter season will bring a resurgence of hope to all Your faithful.  Through the intercession of St. Vincent Ferrer, may a  fortress of strength be built in our hearts such that we may all proudly and courageously proclaim Your death and resurrection.  Amen.”

(How Will You Let this Easter Change Your Life? was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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