Why I’m baking bread all throughout the Easter season
As I wrote last year, I wanted to be intentional with the Easter season — 50 days of celebrating the glory of the Resurrection and Christ’s victory over death. My plan was to grow in honoring the Sabbath, specifically through feasting and cultivating a habit of intentional Sunday night dinners. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I don’t think it went entirely as planned. Oh, I probably feasted plenty, and I might have cut down on doing work on Sundays, but the dinners quickly fell away in the rush of life.
So this year, I wanted to do something else intentionally. Yes, that seems to be the theme of my spiritual life as of late. But I didn’t want to take on something complicated. I wanted one thing that I could make time for no matter the week, something almost ritualistic.
Naturally, I did a quick Google search for ways to celebrate the full Easter season. But I was disappointed by finding nearly the same suggestions on every list: paint Easter eggs, eat desserts all Easter long (specifically chocolate bunnies), listen to Easter music, make a Paschal candle, display the word “Alleluia” somewhere in your home, etc. Other suggestions were more liturgical, such as praying novenas to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost or making a Mary garden to honor our Blessed Mother during the month of May. But most things on the list either felt shallow or more of a “been there, done that” idea.
Then one list suggested baking bread. And here’s why.
One of the most memorable passages from Scripture about the Easter season is the appearance of Jesus to the two disciples traveling to Emmaus. While they didn’t recognize him at first, their eyes were unveiled when he sat down to table with them and broke and blessed the bread — the second time the Eucharist was consecrated into his divine flesh and blood.
I go to Mass at least once throughout the week, in addition to Sundays, so I’m able to cultivate a lifestyle surrounded by the breaking of bread, the participation in the Eucharistic feast. But then I return home to my go-go-go life, and I forget to live with the Eucharist in mind as I should.
Yet, I want my home to be a domestic church. My choice of decor echoes this desire, as I have a canvas hanging above my sink that says “Give us this day our daily bread.” But there is this desire to go deeper, to truly create a life that revolves around Christ and the Eucharist, even when I am not in his presence. So, I’m going to bake bread, the most spiritual of foods, so that when I eat of it and share it with others, I can give a subtle nod to Our Lord and offer a humble thank you for the great gifts he has give us — primarily the invitation to life everlasting and his Eucharistic presence here and now.
There are a few Easter recipes I might try (hot cross buns, for example), but I’m not going to hold myself to anything in particular. Maybe I’ll pair it with my new ritual of tea time and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or maybe not. I will simply let the Lord lead.
Maybe baking bread sounds intimidating, but you like the theme. Consider buying bread from a bakery each week or even frozen rolls to warm up. Or, if bread making isn’t for you (and trust me, I’m no expert — my recipes tend to turn out great the first time and terrible on a second try), there are plenty of other Easter traditions or habits to pick up. A few others that intrigued me were starting a garden (even though I tend to kill most plants that enter my space); keeping flowers, specifically lilies, in your home throughout the season; reading the Acts of the Apostles to remember the early days of the Church; and going to Mass on Ascension Thursday, even if your diocese celebrates it on Sunday. The idea is to do something simple that can point you to Christ. Sit with these ideas, or do an internet search yourself for other suggestions, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you this Easter season.
For he is risen. He is risen, indeed!
Ava Lalor is associate editor for Our Sunday Visitor and editor for Radiant magazine.