Why then do I now find myself resisting the urge to be giddy? I am tempted to say it is because I know that sooner or later all of this will come to an end, that out of the darkness we will emerge with our own candles, from the digital cold to the warmth of human affection and communion. But the eventual end of the pandemic and the return of normal human social relations, including the resumed public celebration of Mass, is only a proximate cause. The joy I find building in myself, quietly but undeniably, transcends the gloom of recent days…

Christianity is not a matter of privately affirming certain propositions. The Church is herself a society, both natural and supernatural, a society of human believers whose shared joy is the affirmation of a truth. This truth is, reduced to its barest essence, that a certain body which ought to have been in a tomb was sought and found elsewhere. What this meant was a riddle to which only a few clever women guessed the answer immediately.

We too must stand, like St. Mary Magdalene and her companions, before an emptiness and see beyond it a great light and a body, one both like and radically unlike that for which they had been seeking. This is the Resurrection, the hope of Easter, which must be commemorated with empty churches in spite of, nay because of, the fact that it is founded upon the realization that emptiness means not an absence but the presence of something for which we have longed without knowing it our entire lives.