Fixing Your Gaze on Eternity

An Easter message from Abbot Hayes, O.Praem.

It is an odd thing to try to fix your gaze on eternity.

We are in the season of Easter, and since that first Easter Sunday nearly two thousand years ago, the central reality of this Holy Season has not shifted: Christ has risen, as He said, and in so doing He has redeemed mankind, conquered sin and death, and made real for us the promise of life with Him forever. Alleluia! 

But, of course, this is not our first Easter. And as we change, so, too, does our appreciation for the significance of the sacred reality of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

As we grow to recognize the effects of sin more plainly—and, indeed, as we reflect more honestly on the weight of our own sins—perhaps we better experience the deep pain of Christ’s wounds.

As we see how starved our society is for reconciliation—and, indeed, as we reflect on our own want for forgiveness from those we have wronged—perhaps we better fathom the intense peace and relief of St. Dismas as the Crucified Lord promised him paradise.

As we see the despair of faithlessness consume our culture—and, indeed, as we struggle at times with our own unbelief—perhaps we see the desperation and hurt in poor “Doubting Thomas” with greater and greater sympathy. 

As we lose loved ones and feel the sting of death in our lives more acutely—and indeed, as we move inexorably toward our own final hour—we see more clearly the strength of Christ’s triumph over the tomb and understand how sweet the hope of the life of the world to come really is. 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the joy of Easter is not an abstraction. It is not a fruitless thought experiment or arcane philosophical trick. Christ’s Resurrection, His trump over death, is real, and it is ours, now. The Church celebrates this holy reality every year not out of hollow duty, but to remind us, anew, again and again, that Alleluia is an urgent and timely call. 

For our part, and by God’s infinite grace, the Norbertines of St. Michael’s Abbey will continue forward in this joyful task. We live this call in our daily prayer, the cornerstone of our community. We live this call in the work we do as chaplains, pastors, and teachers. We live this call through  the art we create, the music we compose, and the scholarship we author. We live this call through our work with the Abbot’s Circle, and all our growing efforts that bring the joy of abbey life to millions of souls in the digital space.

Fixing your gaze on eternity does not unmoor you from the present; in fact, it grounds you more deeply in it. So, I ask you, how are you celebrating the Resurrection at this moment in your life? What are you doing during this Easter season to bear witness to the Gospel?

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