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‘But how could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?’

For the several days that I was trying to write this Easter blog, a verse from Psalm 137 was about all that came to my mind. I was holding “How could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?” in one hand and the words, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” in the other.

Try as I might, I could not get the psalm verse out of my mind, nor feel any kind of gladness.

Of course, what prompted my thoughts were Ukraine and the nightly TV images of the suffering people upon whom unspeakable horrors have been unleashed day after day by Putin and his Russian military.

How can we sing “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” this Easter? This Easter, in the midst of people fleeing the land of their birth, children in tow, or whole terrorized families huddled in make-shift bomb shelters. This Easter, with destruction all around — bodies lying dead in the streets; we hear reports of women being raped and of families struggling to find food, and shelter from the cold. This Easter, as homes, schools, train stations, hospitals have been indiscriminately reduced to rubble. Alleluia? The word stuck in my throat.

How can we NOT sing?

Finally, I turned a corner in my thinking and began to ask myself … How can we NOT sing our Easter Alleluias?! Even in the midst of all this suffering. Indeed, we must sing because of all this suffering! That is what the paschal mystery is all about! The resurrection of Jesus is the rock-solid base of our faith, our love, our hope and our trust. The resurrection of Jesus proclaims that suffering and death will not have the last word.

As we ponder this Easter, we might consider the words of Mister Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Might these helpers be the “resurrection” people of today? For example, the gentleman who goes all over the world in crisis situations, and now is in Ukraine, to cook and dispense food to the hungry. Many organizations are on the ground in Ukraine every day to direct resources to the most needy, including medical supplies, safe drinking water, and psycho-social care for traumatized children. We hear of response workers flocking to Poland to help with the refugee population.

There is Easter joy; we may just have to look harder, this Easter.

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Sister Ann Casper

Sister Ann Casper, SP, retired as the executive director for Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence in 2018 and currently serves as minister of Providence Community Cemetery at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Sister Ann has ministered in various scholastic and administrative positions in Indiana and North Carolina. She also was a member of the Sisters of Providence leadership team, serving as General Secretary.

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9 Comments

  1. Marsha Speth on April 17, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Yes, Ann, you reflected well on where we are today!
    Look for the helpers, the kind, the lovers, the faithful,……

    • Paula Damiano, SP on April 17, 2022 at 8:42 am

      Ann,
      Thank you….I’ve had this very dilemma all week. You helped me look at it from the place of Christian hope! Happy Easter!!

  2. Sr. Mary Frances Keusal, SP on April 17, 2022 at 8:05 am

    How true, Ann! Alleluia takes different shapes
    And forms. We may not always recognize it
    Right away and we may have to look for it a little
    Harder. A lot of food for thought. Alleluia!
    He is risen!

  3. Diane Weidenbenner on April 17, 2022 at 8:43 am

    What an important reminder that suffering and death will not have the last word. Thank you for these words of wisdom and encouragement.

  4. Mary Riley on April 17, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Sister Ann, what a beautiful way to look at such an ugly travesty that is happening in our world. Thank you for sharing this perspective and helping us see that “suffering and death will not have the last word.”

  5. Denise on April 17, 2022 at 8:53 am

    Thank you, Ann. So many of us have made the comment “I feel so helpless.” So you and Mr. Rogers have given me a new way to see.

  6. Erin Horrigan Dando- Ladywood-St Agnes class of 1975 on April 17, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Thank you Sister Ann, indeed “suffering and death shall not have the last word”. He is risen!

  7. Janet Tosick, PA on April 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Sister Ann,
    What a blessing your beautiful message brought Michael and me this Easter Day.
    Thank for sharing hope and love ❤️ when our world, especially Ukraine is suffering so much.Prayers you and St Marys have a joyful day.
    Happy Easter! Janet and Michael

  8. Bill Hughes on April 17, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you, Ann. Today, you and Richard Rohr (in his daily devotional) have helped me be able to see hope for resurrection, to begin to feel it. .

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