We all know how grateful we can feel when someone does something special for us. A husband is touched when his wife goes out of her way to care for one of their children.
A homeless woman is moved to tears when a stranger buys her a lunch. A mother is grateful when her son’s teacher spends extra time helping him master a new concept in math.
Similarly, we are filled with gratitude when we think about all that God has done for us. Our hearts are moved when we pause to remember that God has given us this beautiful creation as a gift of love. We feel joy when we recall that Jesus died and rose for us. We are comforted when we remember God’s unending love and mercy.
According to Fr. Henri Nouwen, “Nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life.” That’s why it is so important for us to follow St. Paul’s advice and “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8).
This call to remember is especially important during the Easter season. There is so much good news to recall at this time! There is the resurrection of Jesus, his victory over sin and death, and the apostles’ joy when they meet the Lord. There are also the stories about the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles—all of which help us remember Jesus’ promise to his disciples: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Remembering God is only half of the equation. Scripture also tells us that God will never forget us. Think of this beautiful passage from Isaiah: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you” (49:15).
Remember Your Heritage. I recently watched the TV miniseries Roots—for probably the fifth time! It’s the story of Kunta Kinte, a man from Gambia who was captured and sold as a slave in America. Kunta Kinte never forgot his African heritage, and he made sure that his family never forgot either. The miniseries traces his descendants through six generations and shows how recalling their roots helped them find courage and retain their dignity despite the slavery, abuse, and oppression they had experienced.
May we never forget our heritage as children of God! May we hold fast to it so that we can stand firm in the face of temptation, fear, and tragedy! If we can remember the Easter message of Christ’s resurrection and keep it close to our hearts, we will find the grace we need to hold fast. We will remember that Jesus is coming again, and that memory will help us to stay faithful to him in every situation.
May God bless all of us with the gift of inspired remembering this Easter!