The Gift of the Empty Tomb

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

Can you imagine Mary Magdalene’s incredulous encounter with Jesus that first Easter morning—moving from experiencing the depths of sorrow to indescribable joy?  Can you imagine hearing Divine Love speak your name, revealing to you the Living Hope of God?  I cannot fully comprehend the joy of Mary Magdalene’s encounter—discovering the empty tomb or meeting the Risen Christ on that first Easter morning.  But centuries later, with other Christians, I celebrate the gift of the Empty Tomb of Easter and the eternal Living Hope that emerged.

How do you celebrate these two gifts? Usually, I celebrate the Easter season by attending the Easter Vigil Mass, to help welcome new members into the Church, and by singing the ritualistic “Alleluias” that elevate my spirit and bring me to a closer encounter with Living Hope.  This Easter season, however, has been different for all of us, not only because of the life-changing effects of a 14-month pandemic but also because of escalating divisions and violence in our nation.

In this Easter season, when so many families mourn the death of a loved one, I struggle to sing, Alleluia. At a time when centuries of racism and inequity tears at the fabric of our society, I struggle to sing, Alleluia. At a time when daily violence is claiming the lives of our youth and loved ones, I struggle to sing, Alleluia.  In a time when peace seems many times to be an elusive dream, I struggle to sing, Alleluia.

Faith and my life experience teach me, however, to look for the hope in difficulty, just as Mary Magdalene did in that moment when she emerged from sorrow to joy. While I know there are many circumstances that contribute to temporarily losing sight of the joy of Easter—I also know that the Living Spirit of Hope will eventually renew my spirit and restore my voice to sing the “Alleluia” of the empty tomb, not just during Easter, but throughout my life.

If we are open, this living hope of the Spirit will come in different ways and at different times to renew each of us. Recently, I experienced this renewal and hope as several of our women in formation prepared to enter the next stage of their formation journey. Sr. Margaret Uche will renew her vows, Candidates Cathy Buchanan and Tram Bui will become novices, Sr. Ann Killian will return from the novitiate and become an Apostolic novice, Apostolic novice Sr. Ellen Coates will make First Profession, and Sr. Ana Gonzalez is preparing to make her final vows as a Dominican Sister of Peace. Amid the challenges of our times, these, and all our women in formation who are discerning God’s call in their life, are part of the hope and joy of our future.

How have you experienced the renewal of Living Hope during this Easter season? How has Jesus, our Living Hope, shown up for you?   I invite you to listen to this inspiring song, Living Hope by Phil Wickham, as you ponder this question.

If you feel called to join us in sharing Living Hope with others as a Sister, contact us!


Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

6 responses to “The Gift of the Empty Tomb

  1. Jesus has taught me this season to walk and listen to those closest to me . Really listen and see what I missed .

  2. Pat you may not always feel like singing alleluia, but when I think of who you are and what you are doing, I sing Alleluia!
    Thanks for all these wonderful young ladies you bring into our fold. We need them and they are special, as are you..

  3. Pat, Thank you for a realistic and hope filled expression of what Easter joy can be!
    Margaret Mary

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