The Resurrection – continued.
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.
The Resurrection – continued.
“The third day He rose again from the dead”
When we consider and examine into the objections urged against the truth of the Resurrection their weakness and unreality seem but to strengthen our position and make more sure the foundation on which our belief rests. These objections, broadly speaking, may be reduced to two:
First, it has been alleged that Christ did not really die. Under the appearance of death He was taken down from the cross and buried, and in the grave He revived and arose, so that no resurrection from the dead ever took place at all. But the words of the Saviour Himself : Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke xxiii. 46), are the cry of one at the last extremity. The Gospel thus describes Him: “And bowing His head He gave up the ghost” (John xix. 30). Then we have the piercing of the divine side by the sharp lance of the soldier, in order that the least spark of life which might still flicker in the sacred body might be extinguished. When Joseph of Arimathea craved permission from Pilate to take Our Lord down from the cross Pilate first of all made inquiries to ascertain if He were really dead. Had he not been sure that death had taken place he would never have given the permission so eagerly sought. The holy Mother of our Saviour held Him in her arms after the descent from the cross; would she have consented to see Him consigned to the tomb if she had felt the least doubt that death had really taken place? No, a thousand times no! Christ not only appeared to be dead; He was so actually and in truth: He was crucified, dead, and buried.”
The second objection, while allowing that Christ did really die, refuses to admit that He ever rose again. Now if He did not rise again what became of His sacred body? His enemies had power over the tomb of Jesus, and it was sealed, watched, and guarded. The soldiers were instructed by the high priests and the pharisees to say, “His body has been stolen away by His disciples, who were bribed with money to spread this rumor abroad. Say you His disciples came by night and stole Him away when you were asleep.” (Matt, xxviii. 13.) How could such a thing be possible in view of the fact that armed soldiers guarded the tomb? Now for a guard to sleep at his post would have meant punishment by death, and in this case we are asked to believe that not only one, but the whole guard fell asleep at the same time, and that so soundly that they were not roused by the rolling away of the stone, and the lifting up, and removing the sacred body. To give any appearance of likelihood to this story we must suppose that all these improbable things happened, and it would be strange indeed if so many unlikely things had followed so closely one upon the other. Moreover, can we fancy the timid disciples finding courage for such a daring undertaking? How could they know the guards would be asleep? But, even conceding every point, admitting black to be white, and making the impossible possible, what would the disciples do with a dead body on their hands which they must find some way of concealing?
Dearly beloved brethren, those who bear witness in proof of the Resurrection are so numerous, and their veracity so absolutely to be trusted, while, on the other hand, the objections adduced against it are so weak, paltry, and far-fetched, that nothing remains for us but to say with the angel: “He is risen!” It is a fact as well authenticated and as firmly established as any in history.
May it be to us all a source of joy, and let us pray, saying in the words of the Apostles Creed, “the third day He rose again from the dead.” Amen.
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 human kind 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.
*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.’
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)
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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