Dwelling hope: Easter message from Fr. Erik Oland, SJ

“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.”

Dear fellow Jesuits, partners and friends of the Society,

A blessed and happy Easter to you all.

The brief excerpt above from Gerard Manley Hopkins epic poem The Wreck of the Deutschland speaks to us particularly this Easter given the global crisis in which we find ourselves. During Easter 2020, more than ever, we long for a hope-filled sunrise on the horizon of the current pandemic that has enveloped the world. Still, the deepest hope of the resurrection has forever been that Christ dwells in us at all times and in all circumstances, no matter what is happening around us.

The current Covid-19 crisis has imposed a daily rhythm of which we are not in control. All the same, what Covid does not control is this in dwelling hope that we name the God of Jesus Christ who lived and died as any human being but was raised in the name of forgiveness and hope; mercy and compassion. Just as during the 4th week of the Spiritual Exercises where we still carry the weight of the suffering and crucifixion of the 3rd week, we ask for the grace to take part in Jesus’ joy and to join him in the promise that the resurrection brings. So too this Easter, more than any other in recent memory, we need to seek that grace that MUST be there in the midst of uncertainty that our current situation brings. As Paul writes, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14

The pandemic may affect our lives for many months more and yet it is our task to look for optimistic signs that are already present. We can begin, as Ignatius always does, by expressing gratitude for all those who have continued to work risking their well-being and health: medical staff, cleaning staffs and garbage collectors, staff of grocery stores and pharmacies, the staff of takeout restaurants, transit workers, and, yes, elected officials who have risen above the individualism and selfishness of our generation to rediscover the meaning of working for the Common Good. And to all of you who, each in your way, in communities and families, through phone calls and on-line Masses have helped to support one another. All of this is a sign of the beautiful light of the sunrise that peeks over the horizon even before the sun appears at the beginning of a new day.

And so, as we celebrate Easter 2020, let us continue to care for each other and to look to deepen the graces we are already receiving so we might use the lessons of the current challenges to continue the transformation that the pandemic is bringing to our world.

Ad majorem dei gloriam – AMDG

Erik Oland, S.J.


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