Easter Message from Fr. Chi Ai, A.A.

Icon of the Resurrection, by Br. Blair Nuyda, AA

Icon of the Resurrection, by Br. Blair Nuyda, AA

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Assumption family,

One day, I met with an Assumptionist who asked me: “What grade do you give to the state of the Province? Is it an A?” With a big smile, I replied, “it is better than an A, it is a double A—AA!” I do not need to tell you about the multiple challenges our Province is facing: lack of vocations, of leadership, of involvement in “mobilizing works” … The future of the Province is admittedly uncertain, but there is no reason to fear.
In the Easter Vigil Gospel of this year (Mark 16:1-7), holy women do not believe that they will find someone to roll back the stone from the entrance of the tomb, but they still believe in the possibility of anointing Jesus’ body. They bring with them the spices to anoint Jesus’ body even though they are not sure about having access to it. They do not have all they need to accomplish their project, but still they decide to set out on their journey. They trust that God will help them to realize their desire for him. They trust that God will provide them with all that they need. They trust that God will help them to find the pieces that are missing.

Like those women, we are to set out on our own journey even though we do not have every resource we need. In this time of uncertainty, we are to continue to prepare for our future even though we do not know for sure what is coming. Out of our little effort and limited progress, God can make something great, something unexpected. The women were looking for a dead body to be anointed, but they found what they did not expect: a message of life to be announced. This message of life took the place of an absent body. This message is the foundation of our faith. It is the horizon of our hope. It is the revelation of God’s love for us. It reassures us, but it also challenges us in time of doubt and uncertainty.

In the City of God, Augustine wonders “whether virtue can still be called virtue if success is always guaranteed. [For him], there is surely nothing wrong with following a charted course of action whose outcome is never in doubt, but there is nothing glorious in it either. What gives virtue its distinctively human character is precisely the uncertainty with which in all interesting cases one is compelled to act in all circumstances. People are at best responsible for the goodness or badness of their actions, not for their results. They may deserve to be successful, but whether they are or not depends in large measure on circumstances that lie beyond their control and may not even be known to them at the time of the deed.” (Ernest Fortin. Introduction to Augustine: Political Writings. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1994, p. xxiii-xxiv).

The good news of the resurrection started with the uncertainty of holy women and continued with the work of God who is always faithful to his promises. Easter is an invitation for us to believe in the divine love, the power of which no stone can seal. It prompts us to roll back any form of stone that makes us fearful. It is Easter whenever we confront the empty tomb to fill it with the hope of the resurrection. It is Easter whenever we step out of ourselves to anoint the wounds of a broken world caused by war, insurgence and polarization. It is Easter whenever our fear is transformed into joy. It is Easter whenever the darkness of death is defeated by the light of life. With the good news of the resurrection, the stone of hatred, of fear and of despair is removed from our lives. A new path, made of the stone of love, of confidence and of hopefulness, is opened before our eyes. On that new path, we can say to one another: Christ is risen; he is risen indeed!

Happy Easter to all of you!

Chi Ai Nguyen, AA
Provincial Superior