Latest from Animate Youth Ministries: Easter 2018

By Ciara Hanley

Ever since I was 15 years old, I have been going on pilgrimage to Lourdes each summer, volunteering as a member of the annual Liverpool Archdiocesan Youth Pilgrimage. And, although I have plenty of memories that I cherish from each year’s visit to Lourdes, my fondest memories (and the times that I’ve felt closest to God) have always been while doing the Stations of the Cross.

There’s something particularly moving about travelling along Jesus’ journey, experiencing the emotion at each station and reflecting beneath each life-sized statue – all the while walking up the mountainside – that is so unbelievably powerful. How great Jesus’ love must be for each of us that He took the punishment – which was meant for us – upon Himself.

During Holy Week, we are able to revisit the story of Christ’s crucifixion and experience the immensity of Jesus’ love for us all over again. This is a time in which we gratefully remember the sacrifice Christ made for each of us, and we should think about how we can keep the message of Easter in our hearts and in our lives for longer than the time it takes for the chocolate eggs to get eaten. After all, Jesus died and rose again so that our relationship with God could be restored and we could live in eternity with the Lord. Therefore, it’s our duty to live our lives accordingly, keeping our faith at the centre of all we do.

The image of the final station in Lourdes is truly breath-taking. The huge stone rolled across, revealing the opening of the tomb and symbolising a look into the future; a future of living hope and a union with Christ.
Each year in Lourdes, we come to this station at the end of the night when it’s beginning to get dark, and we use candles and torches to light our way, emphasising the beauty and sheer magnitude of our surroundings as well as the scene which we reflect upon. After a long journey, remembering the pain and suffering that Jesus underwent for our sake, I always feel overwhelmed with emotion at this point as I can finally celebrate in the fact that Jesus defeated death.

Romans 6:8 reads: ‘As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him.’ Each of us died with Christ and therefore, in his resurrection, each of us will live with Him also. Death is something which we need not fear as Jesus has already overcome it, and because of this we can instead live our lives without restrictions, spreading the truth of the scriptures which Christ’s resurrection proved to be true.

So this Easter, like every other, rejoice in the joy of the empty tomb and celebrate the restoration of our relationship with God. But also, ask yourself what it is that you can do in the weeks and months beyond this time to keep the joy of Easter in your life in order to remind yourself, and others surrounding you, of the unending love the Lord has for each of us.

Upcoming events
Life and Soul – An evening of praise and worship before the Blessed Sacrament with the opportunity for the sacrament of Reconciliation, taking place at:
• Tuesday 24 April at St Julie’s Church, Howards Lane, St Helens, WA10 5HJ
• Tuesday 15 May at St Bede’s Church, Appleton Village, Widnes, WA8 6EL