Friday, April 10, 2020

Sister Nina and Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a Good Friday like no other. We are all Sheltering at home to stop the spread of Covid19.
We have a tradition in our family to gather after Good Friday services and color Easter eggs at our house. Needless to say that is not happening this year in the midst of this pandemic, but I can share with you the inspiration for it.
When I was converting in my late teens, Sr. Nina, a young nun I first met on Search retreat, invited me to the convent on the Fridays of Lent to make communion hosts or prepare various outreach packages and then stay for lunch. What she actually did was to show me, by being herself, how the grace of God is at work in us. Every Friday was the same; in the kitchen all morning and then we would sit at the big table with a small plate consisting of one peeled hard boiled egg and a serving of cottage cheese. Plain and simple.
On good Friday there was no preparation of communion hosts but Sr. Nina invited me for lunch after the noon service. There on the table was one egg in its shell and the same spoonful of cottage cheese.
After grace she shared, with the other sisters smiling ever so slightly, that the sorrow of Good Friday could only be born in the gladness of Easter Sunday. The eggshell was left on as the reminder of Easter and Mary Magdalene finding the tomb open. And suddenly all the sisters began cracking open their eggs, giddy in the tapping and all I remember after that was the burst of my tears and the simultaneous fullness of joy!
It has been such an important insight for me during the various sorrows of life and I love her for it. When I had children, I combined Good Friday with that same joy of Easter through the coloring of eggs. And invited the cousins and close family friends to join us. I really treasure the days we have had together over the years. It is a place for me to put the fullness of my heart on this day as we remember Jesus in his agony and death, and join ours and the world’s suffering to his in prayer, but also see, once again, the assurance of the boundless love and compassion of God.

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