The Resurrection – continued (4).
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 (4).
III. Incite us to holiness of life.
The Resurrection of Christ is full of beautiful meaning as regards the inner and moral life of each one of us. St. Paul puts it before us as a type of our own spiritual renewal when he says: “As Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom. vi. 4). It is typical of a complete change of heart, not only in its completeness, but also with regard to the characteristics of such a change, and the difficulties with which its accomplishment is invariably beset.
It particularly illustrates the difficulties and obstacles which line the path of one who is really struggling to reform his heart and life. What seemed more impossible than that Christ should rise again? He was dead, having received countless wounds, any one of which was sufficient to be a death-blow. The lance had opened His divine side; His blood had been shed in torrents; He had endured a protracted death agony of excruciating pain. There was the hard rock of the grave, with the enormous stone sealed by the authorities to close the opening; the armed guard consisting of numerous soldiers, watching and ready if needs be to defend it. All these things seemed to be insurmountable obstacles. But nothing is insurmountable to the power of God, and with the very first stirring of His coming to life they all fell away: “Nor bolt, nor grave, nor seal, nor stone, nor rock can withstand Him.”
There are people in this world of whom we can say that their state presents obstacles to the divine grace of such a nature that a change of heart seems, humanly speaking, impossible. They are dead to all that concerns their spiritual life, with not one, but who knows how many mortal sins upon their soul? These are the wounds; the bondage of passion formed by the habits of years is, as it were, the hard rock of the grave which has closed round them holding them as in a prison. The guard is also on the alert, namely, the evil companions, the participators of their life of sin, who oppose every step in the direction of conversion. But great as these obstacles are they will not prevent regeneration of heart if the sinner, allowing himself to be carried on the tide of divine grace, breaks all bonds and exclaims, “By the mercy of God I will begin a new life.”
The Resurrection of Christ is a type not of conversion only, but of a complete and entire conversion. For how did Our Lord appear after He was risen? With the self-same body that had been torn and beaten, racked, covered with stripes and blood, one wound from head to foot; but now become beautiful and pure, streaming with heavenly light, giving joy to all who looked upon Him. Before mortal, now immortal: “Christ, rising from the dead, dieth no more; death shall no more have dominion over Him” (Rom. vi. 9). So can the sinner rise from his sins, the same, yet different; where formerly he was sluggish and dilatory he can now be fervent and diligent; without good works, where he now abounds in acts of love of God and of his neighbor; before always ready to fall back and degenerate, but now steadfast in resisting the old sins, the old habits, the old passions.
Although the change which took place in the Saviour through His Resurrection was so great, His sacred body still retained certain marks of its former condition. The five sacred wounds, though streaming with radiance greater than that of the brightest star, were still proofs that it was the self-same body that had hung on the cross and lain in the grave. So the sinner, though rising to a new and a better life, still bears about him the imprint of his former sins; not indeed that he may reproduce them, but in order that he may grow more and more contrite and watchful, that he may learn to weep and do penance, becoming ever increasingly penetrated with a sense of the mercy of God in proportion as he recedes further from the abyss out of which he has been rescued.
O blessed Resurrection! What help thou givest us! What power of faith, what strength and security of hope, what an example of a new and holy life! “As Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom. vi. 4). 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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