Pregnancy during Lent adds an extra layer of anticipation for new life and the glorious shouts of “Alleluia.”
I absolutely love the word “Alleluia.” Simply proclaiming it and remembering that, as St. John Paul II said, “We are an Easter People,” can bring back a mysterious joy and peace to my heart.
Lent felt hard this year. Not because of any self-discipline on my part. But because of the daily grind of handling two toddlers at home, a baby in my belly, work and the usual running of a household together with a husband who is also overextended.
I connected this tough time in my life to Lent. New life was on the horizon. I would soon be able to celebrate not only His victory over death itself – or as my four-year-old likes to say, the bad guys – but also this new life growing in me, coming into this world.
Thanks to the Son of Man, my child will be baptized and claimed a child of God – a force for good in this broken world.
When Easter morning finally came around, something strange happened. For the first time in my memory, I was not giddy. My proclamation of “Alleluia” was not the normal bubbly exclamation it usually is. It was different. It was confident. As Easter went on, I realized that my usual elation was far more stoic. I was not bouncing with joy, but I was by far more at peace.
It wasn’t easy to detect at first – it was more about what was absent. I was not really stressed or worried about anything. God gave us a perfect day of family time. Though we were all exhausted, we went to church and then to the park. The weather turned out perfect; the kids had fun and everyone got along. It was perfect in its simplicity, a moment of heavenly peace on Earth.
I know I still have much to endure before I can hold my youngest daughter in my arms and see her play with her siblings. It is not yet the end, but Jesus tackled the forces of Hell and came back victorious. What do we have to fear?
It wasn’t until we got home that I read of the devastation that families in Sri Lanka had faced because they too wanted to give glory to the Risen Lord. Isn’t Easter supposed to be a time of joy for all Christians?
Then I remembered that the first Easter was not all that much different. It was a happy time, but also one of confusion and terror. The Lord proclaimed: “It is finished.” But His followers would still endure much suffering.
He sent the Holy Spirit to guide them. I imagine that same Spirit inspired those little children in Sri Lanka to raise their hands when asked who was ready to give up their life for Christ. Moments later, they did just that.
There are no words to speak of such tragedy, except to remember that their work is done here on Earth. They are in the true Promised Land.