Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

I am writing this on Palm Sunday but thinking of Easter. Christmas, of course, has many stories, but it is hard to find Easter equivalents. So, I am eagerly awaiting a package from Amazon that will hold a book of Easter short stories. I am hopeful. While I wait, let me turn not to stories, but to poetry. Poetry has the ability to help us look carefully and deeply at life, searching for deeper meanings. One of my favorites is a poem by Cardinal John Henry Newman, called LEAD KINDLY LIGHT. The context is that as a newly ordained priest, Newman is taken ill and must stay in Italy for three weeks. He is deeply saddened because he cannot do his priestly ministry in England. Finally, he gets on a boat and becomes becalmed for two weeks. Then inspiration comes, and he writes the poem. The poem is about getting home to England. He talks of a help in darkness. “The night is dark, and I am far from home. Lead thou me on.” Later he speaks says, “And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.”

The last stanza is the connection to Easter. Newman does it this way.

“Meanwhile, along the narrow rugged path,

Thyself has trod,

Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,

Home to My God.

To rest forever after earthly strife in the calm of everlasting light.”

Meditate on those words as you think of the great gift of the Resurrection of Jesus that makes all things new.