Questions to Gospel Answers

"Dad, why are you so happy?"

"Dad, why are you so happy?" asked my eight year old son after I returned home from the Easter Vigil shortly before midnight. I hadnít noticed that I really was very happy until he asked me. His straightforward question caused me to ask myself, why am I so happy? Was it because 40 days of fasting, prayers, and almsgiving had now culminated in wonderfully fulfilled expectations at the Easter Vigil? Was it because 18 special people, who had become my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, had entered the Church that evening? These are certainly a large part of why I was so happy that evening.

I have experienced Godís great love for me on a very personal level. I have been transported back in time on many occasions since 1992 when God found me even though I was not looking for him. These experiences have come to me in unexpected flashes of insight. I have knelt at the manger with the shepherds after Jesus was born into our existence. He has spoken to me through music, prayer and meditation, and through his sermons, parables and his ministers. I was in Jerusalem holding a palm as he triumphantly entered the city. I was there at the Last Supper. He has washed and kissed each of my feet and I have by his example been privileged to wash the feet of others. He has fed me with his own body and blood. I have prayed with him in the garden. I have walked with him to the cross. I have stood and knelt at the foot of the cross. I have touched it. I have kissed it. I have held it for others. I have prayed and sung there. I have felt the suffering of Mary. I have looked down from the cross at my own children. I have been the repentant thief. I was there when Jesus died and when he was placed in the tomb. I was there when the women came and told us that he was risen. I have gazed into the empty tomb and have seen his burial clothes. I was with him on the way to Emmaus. I was there when he ascended into heaven and I now long for his return. Why am I so happy? I am filled with joy having caught just small glimpses of God's overwhelming love for me and for all of his creation.

I look forward to the seasons of Lent and Easter. Itís incredible how little these 90 days had impacted my life as a Mormon. Easter was just another Sunday for me when I was LDS, a faith tradition that gives much more attention to Christmas than to Easter. Easter was more special at home with candy and decorated eggs than it was at church. As a Mormon, there was no period of preparation for Easter, no special fasting or introspection. No encouragement of reconciliation or purification. In 1994, a year before I entered into full communion, I went to a Tenebrae service on the Wednesday night of Holy week. Even just three days of preparation for Easter that year made a huge difference in my life.

I hear the voice of St. Peter speaking to me through his first letter:

"Realize that you were delivered from the futile way of life your fathers handed on to you, not by any diminishable sum of silver or gold, but by Christís blood beyond all price: the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb chosen before the worldís foundation and revealed for your sake in these last days."

Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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