Sunday, March 27, 2016

Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

After meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord, we now focus our gaze at His Glorious Resurrection. This excerpt is from an Easter sermon by St. Maximus of Turin, an early Church Father.

Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life. His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth. Because of Christ’s resurrection the thief ascends to paradise, the bodies of the blessed enter the holy city, and the dead are restored to the company of the living. There is an upward movement in the whole of creation, each element raising itself to something higher. We see hell restoring its victims to the upper regions, earth sending its buried dead to heaven, and heaven presenting the new arrivals to the Lord. In one and the same movement, our Savior’s passion raises men from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.

Christ is risen! His rising brings life to the dead, forgiveness to sinners, and glory to the saints. And so David the prophet summons all creation to join in celebrating the Easter festival: Rejoice and be glad, he cries, on this day which the Lord has made.

The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night. Christ is this day, says the Apostle; such is the meaning of his words: Night is almost over; day is at hand. He tells us that night is almost over, not that it is about to fall. By this we are meant to understand that the coming of Christ’s light puts Satan’s darkness to flight, leaving no place for any shadow of sin. His everlasting radiance dispels the dark clouds of the past and checks the hidden growth of vice. The Son is that day to whom the day, which is the Father, communicates the mystery of his divinity. He is the day who says through the mouth of Solomon: I have caused an unfailing light to rise in heaven. And as in heaven no night can follow day, so no sin can overshadow the justice of Christ. The celestial day is perpetually bright and shining with brilliant light; clouds can never darken its skies. In the same way, the light of Christ is eternally glowing with luminous radiance and can never be extinguished by the darkness of sin. This is why John the evangelist says: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to overpower it.

And so, my brothers, each of us ought surely to rejoice on this holy day. Let no one, conscious of his sinfulness, withdraw from our common celebration, nor let anyone be kept away from our public prayer by the burden of his guilt. Sinner he may indeed be, but he must not despair of pardon on this day which is so highly privileged; for if a thief could receive the grace of paradise, how could a Christian be refused forgiveness?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Love of the Cross

This Black Saturday, let us all contemplate on the love of the Cross, the chief instrument of our salvation.

In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross joy of spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection of holiness.

There is no salvation of the soul, nor hope of everlasting life, but in the Cross. Take up therefore thy Cross and follow Jesus, and thou shalt go into everlasting life. He went before, bearing His Cross, and died for thee on the Cross; that thou also might bear thy Cross and desire to die on the Cross.

For if thou be dead with Him, thou shall also in like manner live with Him. And if thou share His punishment, thou shall also share His glory. Behold! in the Cross all does consist, and in our dying all lieth; for there is no other way unto life, and unto true inward peace, but the way of the holy Cross, and of daily mortification.

(Thomas A. Kempis from The Imitation of Christ)


Our Blessed Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez:

"Whoever loves Me loves the Cross, and whoever loves the Cross loves me. Only those who love the Cross and embrace it willingly for love of Me will possess Eternal Life. Whoever generously accepts the Cross walks in true light, follows a straight and sure path, with no danger from steep inclines in which to slide, for there are none there."


Because Jesus loved us so much, He desired to be loved very much by us; and therefore He did everything that He could, even by suffering for us, in order to conciliate our love, and to show that there was nothing more that He could do to make us love Him. "He endured much weariness", says St. Bernard, "that He might bind man to love Him much."

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Sacred Wound in the Shoulder of Jesus

Today, Good Friday, let us meditate on the Sacred Wound in the Shoulder of our Lord Jesus.

It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard once asked our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering and that our Lord condescended to answer:

"I had on my Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the way of sorrow, a most grievous wound which was more painful to Me than the others and which is not recorded by men because they knew not of it. Honor the Wound with devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merits; and in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no more remember their mortal sins."

3 Paters 3 Aves 3 Glorias



O most loving Jesus, meekest Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful. I praise Thee, I bless Thee and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and most painful Wound. Beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross, to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the way of the Cross.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Prayer to the Agonizing Jesus in Gethsemane

Today, Maundy Thursday, let us reflect on the agonies of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane through this beautiful prayer composed by St. Padre Pio. 

Jesus, in the excess of Thy love, and for Thy victory over the hardness of our hearts, give many graces to those who meditate on and diffuse the devotion to Thy Holy Passion in Gethsemane.

I pray for the desire to set my heart and my soul to thinking often of Thy bitter agony in the Garden, pitying Thee and joining myself to Thee as far as possible.

Holy Jesus, Who bore in that night the weight of all our faults, and Who paid for them completely, give me the great gift of perfect contrition for my numerous faults, which made Thee sweat blood.

Holy Jesus, through Thy very great struggle in Gethsemane, give me the ability to win a complete and definitive victory over temptations, and especially over those to which I am most subjected.

Suffering Jesus, through the anxieties, the fears, and the unknown but very intense pains Thou didst suffer in the night in which Thou wast betrayed, give me a complete understanding of Thy Will, and strength to do it, by giving me the ever present thought of the great effort and fearful struggle Thou didst bear victoriously, in order to do not Thy Will but the Father's.

Blessed be Thou, very sweet but vastly saddened Jesus, for the prayer, human but divine, which overflowed from Thy agonizing Heart in the night of the unthankfulness and treason.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee all the past, present and future Holy Masses united to the agonizing Jesus in the Garden of Olives.

Most Holy Trinity, make the knowledge and the love of the Holy Passion of Gethsemane diffuse itself through the whole world. Make those who love Thee, Jesus, seeing Thy Crucifix remember too Thy incredible pains in the Garden, and, following Thy example, learn to pray well, to fight and win, and thus to come to the Glory of Heaven. So be it.