Welcome to the first installment of our Easter series, “Grow Your Soul: 7 Ways to Experience New Life During Easter,” drawing from my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. We begin by looking at the notion of “seeing yourself as you really are.”
So much of the Resurrection narrative has to do with sight and perception. Mary Magdalene did not recognize the Risen Christ at first. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize that it was the Risen Christ walking with them. The disciples in the boat did not recognize the Risen Christ on the shoreline grilling fish for them. It seems that sight and perception are key to recognizing and embracing new life. Too many of us are walking around with false perceptions of ourselves, perceptions that tells us we are worthless, ugly, fat, unlovable, shameful, inferior, untalented, unreliable, uninteresting, undeserving, incapable of happiness; or that, in order to be happy, we need money, power, possessions, pleasure, control, popularity, success, conquest, prestige, fame, and so on.
What the Resurrection of Jesus Christ offers, first and foremost, is a change of perception. The Good News of the Resurrection is not simply a call for us to change habits, but more importantly, a call for a change in one’s vision—a change in the way we see ourselves, others, the world, and God. And, it all begins with our self-perception, because, if we are to love others as ourselves, we must have a healthy self-perception. The Resurrection of Jesus gifts us with a restored perception of who we are—redeemed children of God! It is this gift that we celebrate in Baptism and is the reason that we celebrate Baptisms at the Easter Vigil and renew our baptismal promises throughout the Easter season. If you want to know what this change in self-perception “feels like,” watch this awesome video of a young boy finding out that his adoption has been made official.
Talk about a change in one’s self-perception! To be baptized into the Risen Christ is to die to our former self and our former perception of our self as one who is estranged or distant from the Father. May this Easter season and the renewal of our baptismal promises help us to see ourselves as this boy came to see himself—as a child who is deeply loved by the Father—and may we throw ourselves into his loving arms in joyful gratitude!