Our Lord Appears after His Resurrection to His Blessed Mother and the Other Women.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
Our Lord Appears after His Resurrection to His Blessed Mother and the Other Women.
Imagine that you see Mary, the Mother of our Lord, Mary Magdalen, the penitent, and the other devout women repairing at an early hour in the morning to the sepulchre wherein Jesus was laid. They are the same women who only a few days previously traversed this same way, following the Condemned on His way to Calvary, amid the clamor and outcries of the raging, furious mob; and now they who to the very last faithfully and lovingly kept their station beside the Crucified One are privileged to be the first who shall witness the glory of His resurrection.
1st. Consider that our Lord appears to His blessed Mother. With what fervent longing we can imagine that the holy Virgin, strong in faith, anticipated the dawn of the third day when the prediction of her divine Son was to be accomplished. Perhaps she hastens at a very early hour in the morning, before the roseate hues of dawn light up the eastern sky, on her way to the sepulchre, to behold Jesus, the Sun of justice, who is to rise from the grave and dispel the shades of darkness before the light of the natural sun illumines the heavens at its rising. Her faith, her confidence was not deceived; an angel came down to the sepulchre, the earth quaked, and the Redeemer, risen from the dead, stood before her resplendent in surpassing beauty and majesty. What words can describe her joy, her delight, her happiness when she beheld Him whom but a short time before she held in her arms, who lay upon her knees a mournful, mangled corpse, now clothed in the robe of celestial glory! Mark this well, my soul, that, as the Fathers of the Church and pre-eminently St. Ambrose assure us, she to whom it was granted first of all others to enjoy the delight and rapture of that Easter morn, was the one who had felt most acutely the sorrows of the way of the cross, and had also displayed the greatest faith and courage on that sad pilgrimage. The more you suffer here below, my soul, and the more steadily the light of your unwavering faith and confidence burns during the night of affliction, the more reason you have to hope that you will sing with Mary a joyous alleluia in the courts of the heavenly Jerusalem.
2d. Consider how our Lord appeared to Mary Magdalen. She was walking to and fro in the garden, weeping bitterly, overwhelmed with profound grief, seeking her beloved Lord “because they had taken Him away.” And now, when she finds Him whom she loves with the most ardent affection of her soul, and finds Him, not dead as she expected, but alive; when He in gentle, loving accents calls her by her name, who can depict the rapture, the ecstasy of that meeting! Ponder this attentively, my soul; first of all Mary, who represents suffering innocence, was privileged to taste the joys of our Lord’s resurrection; then after her Mary, suffering penitence, who had followed Christ crucified with contrite love, these two were permitted before the other women to rejoice in the presence of their risen Saviour. Remember this whenever the yoke of the life of penance whereon you have entered becomes distasteful to you.
3d. Consider how, according to St. Matthew (ch. xxviii. v. 9) our Lord also appeared to the other women on the way. These women did not possess Mary’s firm, unalloyed faith; they did not come, as she did, to see their risen Lord; they came for the purpose of embalming His lifeless body, to pay a last tribute of affection even in the sepulchre to the dead Christ, whom they had compassionated on the way to Calvary. And the love they thus displayed was so pleasing to God, that He vouchsafed to permit them to share before others the joy of our Lord’s resurrection. Thus God is wont to reward every service of love. Wherefore rise up, my soul! Be tender and compassionate towards your suffering Lord in the person of your Brethren and Sisters; weep with those who weep; go with the mourners to the sepulchre, that you may there like the devout women show charity to the dead. Act thus, and it will do much towards obtaining for you the privilege of a blissful resurrection, and the beatific vision of the risen Saviour.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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