Our friends at @TorontoCatholic Witness blog have done a blogpost reflecting on “The Catholic Guy”, Lino Rulli. Witness asks why Rulli would use an endorsement from Gary “Baba Booey” Dell’ Abate, the producer of the “The Howard Stern Show”? WHAT IS UP WITH THAT??? Dell’Abate is now representing his organization a non-profit AIDS prevention mission in direct opposition to Church Teaching.So let’s take a read and see!
Lino Rulli, the so-called “Catholic Guy” has a very interesting endorser of his book, “Sinner”. The “endorser” is none other than Gary Dell’ Abate, the executive producer for the Howard Stern Show.The “Catholic Guy” also has another interesting endorser:Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
Please click HERE to read the rest which I promise is VERY INTERESTING!
The Festival of Corpus Christi by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877
The same reason which caused the Festival of the Holy Trinity, induced the Catholic Church to institute the festival of Corpus Christi, which we celebrate today. She requires that we shall confess and renew today the faith which we have in the Blessed Eucharist, and that we bestow all possible honors upon the Most Holy Sacrament and give due thanks to our Saviour for its institution. In order that this just requirement of the Church may be more fully complied with, we shall here give some explanation of the above reasons. In regard to the first reason, the following are the facts, which the church especially desires to call to our memory by this joyous festival. Our dear Saviour, on the same evening when His bitter suffering for the redemption of man began, instituted the Blessed Eucharist, out of His immeasurable love for us. In it He is truly and substantially present with body and soul, with flesh and blood, as God and Man, under the form of bread and wine. Under the form of bread, not only His holy body, but also His holy blood is present; because a living body cannot exist without blood. Hence he receives it, who partakes of holy communion only in the form of bread, not less than he who receives it in two forms, as the priests, when they say holy Mass. The latter partake of holy communion under two forms, in order that the passion and death of our Saviour, during which His blood flowed from His wounds, might be more vividly represented.
From the moment that the priest speaks the prescribed holy words, in the name of Christ, over the bread and wine, the Lord is present in the Holy Sacrament. Bread and wine change their substance miraculously into the true body and blood of the Saviour, in such a manner, that all that remains of the bread and wine is their form, color and taste. The presence of Christ lasts so long as the bread and the wine are unconsumed. It is further to be considered that our Lord is present in a small host as well as in a large one, as well in a portion of a host as in a whole one. Hence he who receives an entire host, has no more than he who receives only a part of one, the latter has just as much as the former. The same is the case with those who by inadvertence receive more than one Host, while others receive only one. It is only to be remarked that in case a consecrated Host is broken or divided, the holy body of the Saviour is not broken nor divided, but the form of the bread only: even as Christ will not again die, so his holy body can neither be broken nor divided. All these points are articles of faith in the Catholic Church, and are explained in sermons, in religious instructions and in many books, and are especially demonstrated by the word of God. All true Catholics believe this without any doubt, as the Almighty, who is eternal and infallible truth, has revealed it, and as that Church assures us, which on account of the assistance of the Holy Ghost, promised to her by Christ, cannot err.
Those who are not Catholics teach in many points quite differently. They especially reject the real presence of Christ in the form of bread and wine, and also the transubstantiation of these latter into the real body and blood of the Lord. They maintain it to be impossible that bread and wine can be changed into the body and blood of Christ, or that Christ can be really present at the same time, in so many different places, in so small a compass as the holy Host. If we ask them why they consider it impossible, they answer: “because we cannot conceive, cannot comprehend, how it can be possible.” But if they believe impossible all which they cannot understand, they must, besides many other articles of faith, reject the creation of the world; the humanity and resurrection of Christ; the Holy Trinity; because all these are just as inconceivable for the mind of man, as the transubstantiation of the bread and wine and the substantial presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It matters not in articles of faith whether we are able to comprehend them or not so long as they are revealed by God.
That which the Almighty has revealed must be true, whether I can understand it or not: for He is omniscient, hence infallible, and cannot be deceived, while our understanding can as easily be deceived as our senses. God is truth: therefore can not deceive. He is omnipotent; hence He can do more than the human mind can comprehend. “With God all things are possible,” said Christ Himself. “Let us admit that God can do more than we are able to fathom,” says St. Augustine, while St. Cyril of Alexandria writes; “The Lord says by the prophet Isaias: ‘My counsel is not like yours, neither are my ways like your ways: for as the heaven is above the earth, so are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.’ Cannot therefore the works of Him, who stands so high above us in wisdom and power, exceed in their greatness the limits of our understanding?”
The same is taught by all the Holy Fathers. They also refer to many occurrences in nature, which, although we cannot comprehend them, nevertheless take place. They speak of the creation of the world, and say, if we believe that God created a whole world out of nothing, how can we hesitate to believe that He can change bread and wine, or that He can be present in that form? The water at Cana was changed into wine: why then should He not possess the power to transform bread and wine into His holy body and blood? Truly, whoever believes that God is omnipotent, infallible and infinite, cannot doubt this article of faith. We Catholics believe so, and hence we cannot doubt any of the above mentioned points of the true faith. This faith we this day renew and confess publicly. The Catholic Church requires it, and has for this reason instituted today’s Festival. She further demands that we unanimously, bestow today all possible honor upon the Blessed Sacrament, and that we praise and glorify with all the powers of our soul, the Saviour therein concealed. And is not this justly demanded of us? of us who firmly believe that our Lord is present in His double nature as God and as man, in the Blessed Sacrament? All honor, all praise belongs to the true God.
King David, in the Old Testament, bestowed great honor upon the Ark of the Covenant, in which a part of the manna was preserved, as Holy Writ relates. The manna of the Old Testament was only a feeble type of our Most Holy Sacrament, as Christ Himself teaches: hence we owe so much greater honor to it. The wise man said, many thousand years ago: “Glorify the Lord, as much as you can . . . Bless ye the Lord, exalt Him as much as you can.” (Eccl. xliii.) As we are assured by our faith that our God and Lord is truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, it is natural that we honor, praise and glorify Him with all our strength. We are bound to do this not merely today, but during the whole year. Who is there, however, that can say of himself that he has not sometimes been remiss in this sacred duty? Hence the Holy Church requires that we, remembering our duty this day, kindle anew our zeal, if it has abated, and thus with united hearts, honor, praise and exalt the Most Holy Sacrament. For this purpose she has also ordained that the Blessed Sacrament shall be carried through the streets in solemn processions.
Everything connected with this ceremony is intended to honor our Lord in every possible manner. The Church tries, by this public manifestation, to atone somewhat for the many and great wrongs to which the Blessed Sacrament is so frequently subjected by heretics as well as by Catholics. One cannot, without horror, think how this sacred mystery has been assailed and dishonored in centuries gone by, and down to our days. A pious Christian dares not even relate the wrongs done to it, which are great enough to deserve hell. And what does our Saviour, concealed in the Blessed Sacrament, suffer from those who believe in his presence? The irreverence and levity with which many Christians conduct themselves in presence of the Blessed Eucharist, tend to dishonor and disgrace our Saviour. The unworthy communions which unhappily take place, offend Him in a most grievous manner. The misuse of the body, especially of the tongue and mouth, which are so often sanctified by partaking of the true body and blood of Christ, cannot but excite the wrath of the Lord. For these, as well as other wrongs done to the Blessed Sacrament, the Church of Christ seeks to make amends by these solemn processions, and by all the other pious exercises she has ordained for this festival and during the whole octave. Hence, every pious Christian should be solicitous to conform to the ordinances of the Church, and not only assist in the procession and all other devout exercises, but also endeavour to contribute to render them what the Church desires.
Those who are not Catholics disapprove of every thing that we do today in honor of the blessed Sacrament, and accuse us of idolatry, as we according to them, worship bread. They say also that all that we do in this regard cannot be agreeable to God, because it was not ordained by Him. We, Catholics, are, however, not disturbed by this, for we know that we do not worship bread, but Him whom three wise men worshipped in the manger, namely, Jesus Christ, true God and Man. We know also that though what we do this day in honor of the blessed Sacrament is not especially and expressly ordained in Holy Writ, still we are assured that a voluntary worship of it is in accordance with reason and the laws of God, pleasing and agreeable to His Majesty. And this is made clear to us from the above-mentioned example of the three Wise Men, and from the acts with which King David honored the Most High, on the solemn return of the Ark of the Covenant; not to mention that Christ gave us a general command to worship God, in the words: “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matth. iv.) This command we fulfil today by our actions, as they all aim at one end, namely, the honor of the Lord, who is concealed in the Blessed Sacrament. The more we are blamed and derided by the heretics for our adoration of the Holy Eucharist, the more fervent should we become in our zeal. When King David was derided by Michol, on account of his devotion at the return of the Ark of the Covenant, he said: “Before the Lord who chose me . . . . I will both play and make myself meaner than I have done, and I will be little in my own eyes.” (II. Kings vi.)
We will still add in a few words, what the true Church further demands of us. We today give humble thanks to the Lord for the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. This is no more than our duty: for if we are obliged to thank God for the smallest benefit He confers upon us, we are surely under much greater obligation when the benefit is great and of especial importance. Who can tell, who can comprehend the greatness of the benefit, which Christ our Saviour and Lord bestowed upon us by the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. It is as great as it is unfathomable: great as He who devised it; as Christ our Lord, true God and man, the King of all Kings, the Lord of all who reign. Great and inconceivable is the miracle by which the substance of bread and wine is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and the miraculous presence of the Lord in the form of bread and wine. St. Thomas of Aquinas calls the Blessed Sacrament a miracle, and the greatest that Christ ever wrought.
Inexpressibly great must have been the love which induced the Saviour not only to institute it at the time He chose for it, namely, the evening before His Passion. Since the world was created, there has never been found a parent willing to nourish his children with his own body, much as he may have loved them. Such excess of love Christ alone manifested. “Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end,” writes St. John (John, xiii.). Already had He loved them and had given them many indubitable proofs of His love; but at the end of His life, He gave them one which surpassed all others, namely, having nourished them with His own body and blood, He instituted a sacrament, by means of which all the faithful might partake of this divine food. And when did He institute this? St. Paul writes: “In the night when He was delivered into the hands of the embittered Jews.” The last night of His life was approaching, and the time when his enemies would seize Him, scourge Him most cruelly, crown Him with thorns, and nail Him like the greatest malefactor to the Cross. All this was known to the Lord. He knew also the wrong which would be done to Him in the Blessed Eucharist to the end of time: and yet this was not sufficient to prevent Him from instituting it.
Truly, a love which surpasses all the bounds, not only of human, but angelic understanding. Love seeks to be always with the loved ones and to enjoy their presence. Jesus Christ, who out of love to us had descended from heaven upon earth, had remained with us for 33 years: and it was the will of His heavenly Father that, after having accomplished our Redemption, He should return to heaven. This also took place; but His infinite love for us found a means by which He will remain with us in the world until the end of time. This means is the Blessed Sacrament, which He instituted before the commencement of His bitter passion. In it He is God and Man, as He is in heaven, truly and substantially present in every Church where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. By this same blessed Sacrament, He unites Himself most closely with us, when we partake of it, because He gives Himself to us as food, and nourishment. And this union with us is, according to the opinion of the Holy Fathers, a still greater proof of His love for us, than His presence in the Sacrament. It is the property of love to unite closely those who love one another: can there be a more intimate union than ours is with Christ, by virtue of the Holy Sacrament?
When Christ became man, He united His divine nature, in an incomprehensible manner, with humanity. When we partake of the Blessed Eucharist, He unites His divine and human natures with our nature, although not in the same manner as when He became Man. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood,” says He, “abideth in me, and I in him.” (John, vi.) How wonderful a union! How incomprehensibly great a love!
Besides the love which induced our Lord to institute the Most Holy Sacrament, the end for which He instituted it, and with which we have already become partly acquainted, is also great and most excellent. Our adorable Saviour would leave us in it an eternal memorial of His love and of His bitter passion and death, as His own words make clear to us: “Do this for a commemoration of me.” (Luke, xxn.) He desired to remain constantly with us, in order that we might, in all our cares, go to Him with greater confidence, and opening our hearts to Him, request and receive from Him, comfort, strength and help. It was His wish that His holy flesh and blood should nourish and strengthen our souls. This was the intention, the end and aim of our Lord in instituting the Most Holy Eucharist. As the religion He founded is holy and most perfect, and as no true religion can exist without sacrifice, He would leave us for evermore the most divine sacrifice, namely, His own flesh and blood that we might sacrifice it in holy Mass in honor of the Majesty of God, as a thanks-offering for all graces and benefits bestowed upon us; for the pardon of our sins, for the obtaining of new grace, and for the comfort of all, living and dead. How high, how admirable an end and aim! Had Christ been willing to remain among us, in the Blessed Eucharist, only in one place on earth, in order that we might there lay our burdens more trustingly at His feet, He would then have conferred on us a favor, which we could never sufficiently esteem, and for which we could never be sufficiently thankful. How much greater, therefore, is the grace that He dwells among us in so many different places of the world, to nourish our souls and to serve as sacrifice, and this not once only, but as often as we desire. How inexpressibly great a favor! How wonderful an invention of truly Divine love!
Just as great and excellent are the results of the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord expressed it all in a few words when He said: “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” (John, vi.) Which means: Whoever worthily partakes of this holy Sacrament, shall receive the special grace of God to preserve the life of his soul, or to remain in the sanctifying grace of God, and hence obtain life everlasting. By virtue of this Sacrament, man receives strength to abstain from sin, to resist temptation and to serve the Most High with constant fidelity. Therefore it is called by the Council of Trent, a medicine, by the strength of which we are freed from our daily iniquities, and protected and guarded against great crimes. “This divine mystery,” says Albert the Great, “strengthens man in grace and succors him when he is in danger of committing sin.” The pious Thomas a Kempis writes: “This most holy and venerable Sacrament conduces to the well-being of body and soul. It is the remedy for spiritual weakness. It heals the wounds of vice, it keeps within bounds all evil inclination, it conquers temptations, gives more abundance of grace, multiplies virtue, strengthens faith, augments hope, and inflames love.”
Other teachers say, that Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament under the form of a bodily food, that we might more easily perceive its effects. For, as bodily food preserves the life of the body, renews strength, refreshes man: thus is the spiritual life of the soul preserved by the holy Eucharist, the soul is strengthened, and all the inner faculties of man inflamed with new zeal in the service of the Almighty. The true Church has not hesitated, for causes already mentioned, to call it a pledge of future glory, so that those who worthily partake of Holy Communion, receive, so to speak, an assurance of eternal salvation. I say, who partake worthily of the Holy Communion; for, one who receives it when not in the state of grace, will not only fail to share in the benefits it imparts, but becomes guilty of eternal punishment, according to the words of St. Paul: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (i Cor. xi.) that is, as St. Chrysostom and other holy fathers teach, damnation.
Whoever reflects on what we have said, cannot but come to the conclusion, that the Lord, by instituting the Blessed Eucharist, has bestowed upon us an inexpressibly great gift. Hence, it is only our duty to give Him our most humble thanks, to which effect the Church has ordained today’s festival, demanding of us to give thanks to the Lord for the institution of this Blessed Gift.
So much for the reason which gave rise to the ordinance of the festival of Corpus Christi. Only one point must I yet touch upon, to confirm the true faith and at the same time give an instruction. The non-Catholics maintain that we act wrongly in not administering the Blessed Sacrament in two forms, as Christ our Lord instituted it and commanded it to be partaken of in such a manner. To this I answer, Luther himself more than once said that the real Blessed Eucharist was to be found in the Catholic Church; and that it mattered not whether it is administered under one form or under two. It is true that Christ instituted it in two forms, but that He commands all to receive it in two forms is false. From the act of the institution of the Eucharist this cannot be proved: for, Christ instituted and adminstered it after washing his disciples’ feet. He gave it only to the men, the strong, and this after they had partaken of supper, and yet the non-Catholics do not say that it is a commandment to wash the feet before Holy Communion, or administer it only to men, the strong, and after supper. The non-Catholics may rest assured that we are more favored when we partake of Holy Communion in one form than they, even if they received it in a hundred: for we receive under one form really the flesh and blood of Christ, while they, under two forms, neither partake of the Saviour’s holy flesh nor of His blood, because they possess no priests to whom Christ gave power to consecrate.
You have considered the aim and end of today’s festival and also the reasons that gave rise to it: hence, prepare your devotions accordingly. First, exercise yourself today in the virtue of faith. Confess to God and the whole world that you believe everything that God the Lord has revealed of the Blessed Eucharist, and which His true Church explains to you; and that you will believe it for no other reason than because the infallible truth has revealed it. Confess openly, that you willingly give your reason up in the service of the Almighty. Oppose, in advance, all temptations by which the Evil One might endanger the peace of your soul, during your life, or while on your death-bed in regard to the Blessed Eucharist or other articles of faith. Manifest openly the faith which you bear in your heart and be not ashamed of it in the presence of heretics. Hence, accompany the procession today with due reverence, and assist, today and always, in all public devotions ordained in honor of the Holy Eucharist. In the churches where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, show your faith in the presence of the Lord by your modesty and reverence. Whoever is wanting in this is wanting also in faith.
Secondly, endeavor especially today to honor, with every power of your soul, the Most Holy Sacrament, but let not your devotion cease with this day: continue in it as long as your life lasts. Accompany the Holy Eucharist devoutly when it is carried in processions; frequently visit the churches where it is kept; worship it in deepest humility. Assist at Holy Mass, if possible, daily. Receive the Holy Communion as often as your confessor will permit; but always with a heart purified and adorned by exercises of virtue. Take time for devotions before and after Holy Communion. Guard yourself in the presence of the Holy Sacrament, from everything that might be displeasing to Him who is concealed in it: as, unrestrained roving of the mind and eyes; the volubility of the tongue; irreverent manner, &c. Take care that you do not, by using indecent language, soil your tongue, which has been purified by partaking of the Holy Sacrament. Before all things, however, take care that you do not receive the Holy Eucharist while a mortal sin weighs upon your soul, for this would be the greatest insult, the most frightful disgrace to your loving Jesus, and to you it might bring eternal damnation. Beg your Saviour also to pardon every irreverence of which during your past life, you have been guilty in presence of the Blessed Sacrament, or in your Communions. To this end, offer to Him everything that is done in the whole world today and during the entire Octave, to His honor and glory, and make the firm resolution to amend all your faults by redoubled zeal in honoring the holy Sacrament.
Thirdly: In consideration of the infinite benefit which our Lord has conferred upon us in instituting the Blessed Eucharist, return Him your most fervent thanks. Give thanks to Him that He made you a member of that Church, which alone is in possession of the Blessed Eucharist. Thank Him also that He gives you time and opportunity to partake frequently of the Holy Sacrament. And as everything connected with it is great and holy, so on your side, all in regard to it should be great and holy. Great must be your faith in the real presence of Christ; great your zeal to worship Him; great your reverence for the church in which He dwells; great your devotion to Him in the Sacrament; great your preparation to receive it. Let all the powers of your mind be directed towards one end: cleanse your soul from every stain of sin, and adorn it most beautifully by exercises of virtue, to make it a fit dwelling for your Saviour. When King Solomon was about to erect a temporal dwelling for the Most High, he collected gold and silver, precious stones and other treasures, saying: “I have prepared, according to my strength, all that is necessary for the dwelling of my Lord.” Why? He gives his reason in the following words: “For, it is a great work, because we erect a house, not for man, but for God.” (I. Par. 29.) Through Holy Communion, your soul becomes a much more real temple of God than the Temple which Solomon erected: hence your care in preparing this dwelling should be much greater than that of Solomon. Finally, great should be your solicitude, after Holy Communion, to remain with Christ in your heart, and to thank, praise and love Him. Oh! exert all the powers of your soul; “for it is a great work!”
Litany of the Blessed Sacrament
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us. *
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, *
God, the Holy Ghost, *
Holy Trinity, one God, *
Living Bread, that camest down from heaven, *
Hidden God and Saviour, *
Wheat of the elect, *
Wine of which virgins are the fruit, *
Bread of fatness and royal dainties, *
Perpetual Sacrifice, *
Clean Oblation, *
Lamb without spot, *
Most pure Feast, *
Food of Angels, *
Hidden manna, *
Memorial of the wonders of God, *
Supersubstantial Bread, *
Word-made-Flesh, dwelling among us, *
Sacred Host, *
Chalice of benediction, *
Mystery of faith, *
Most high and most adorable Sacrament, *
Most holy of all sacrifices, *
True propitiation for the living and the dead, *
Heavenly antidote against the poison of sin, *
Most stupendous of all miracles, *
Holy commemoration of the Passion of Christ, *
Singular pledge of Divine Love, *
Gift of God, exceeding all fulness, *
Affluence of Divine bounty, *
Overflow of Divine liberality, *
Most august and holy Mystery, *
Medicine of immortality, *
Awful and life-giving Sacrament, *
Bread-made-Flesh by the omnipotence of the Word, *
Unbloody Sacrifice, *
Our Food and our Guest, *
Sweetest banquet, at which angels minister, *
Sacrament of piety, *
Bond of unity and charity, *
Priest and Victim, *
Offerer and Oblation, *
Spiritual sweetness, tasted in its very source, *
Refreshment of holy souls, *
Viaticum of those who die in the Lord, *
Pledge of future glory, *
Spare us, O Lord,
Graciously hear us, O Lord
From an unworthy reception of Thy Body and Blood,
Deliver us, O Lord. **
From the lust of the flesh, **
From the lust of the eyes, **
From the pride of life, **
From every occasion of sin, **
Through the desire wherewith Thou didst long to eat this pasch with Thy disciples, **
Through that profound humility wherewith Thou didst wash their feet, **
Through that ardent charity whereby Thou didst institute this DivineSacrament, **
Through Thy Precious Blood, which Thou hast left us on our altars, **
Through the five Wounds which Thou didst receive for us in this Thy most holy Body, **
Beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve and increase our faith, reverence and devotion toward this admirable Sacrament,
We beseech Thee, hear us. ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to conduct us, through a true confession of our sins, to frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to deliver us from all heresy, perfidy, and blindness of heart, ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to impart to us the precious and heavenly fruits of this most Holy Sacrament, ***
That Thou wouldst confirm us in Thy grace, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us from all snares of the enemy, ***
That at the hour of death Thou wouidst strengthen and defend us by this heavenly Viaticum, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us unto eternal life, ***
Son of God, ***
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Thou hast given them Bread from Heaven,
R. Containing in Itself all sweetness.
Let us pray:
O God, Who in this wonderful Sacrament has bequeathed to us a perpetual memorial of Thy Passion: grant us the grace, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the Sacred Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever feel within us the fruits of Thy redemption. Who livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen.
Indulgenced Prayers to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament
O sacrament most holy! O sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.
(Indulgence 100 days, once a day)
I adore Thee at every moment, O living bread of heaven, great sacrament! Jesus, heart of Mary, I pray you, bless my soul. Holiest Jesus, my Saviour, I give Thee my heart.
(Indulgence 100 days, three times a day)
An Act for Spiritual Communion
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
My Jesus, I believe that thou art in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love thee above all things, and in my soul I desire thee. Since I cannot receive thee now sacramentally, come at least spiritually to my heart. I embrace thee as already there and unite myself wholly to thee; do not permit that I may ever be separated from thee. Jesus, all my good and all my love, Wound, inflame this heart of mine, that it may all and always burn for Thee.
(An Indulgence of 60, once a day)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
O Virgin Mary, our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, thou glory of the Christian people, joy of the universal Church, salvation of the whole world, pray for us, and awaken in all believers a lively devotion toward the Most Holy Eucharist, that so they may be made worthy to partake of the same daily.
5 Hóstem repéllas lóngius,
Pacémque dones prótinus:
Ductóre sic te práevio,
Vitémus omne nóxium.
6 Per te sciámus da Patrem,
Noscámus atque Fílium
Teque utriúsque Spíritum
Credámus omni témpore.
7 Deo Patri sit glória,
Et Fílio, que a mórtuis
Surréxit, ac Paráclito,
In saeculórum sáecula.
O Come, Creator Spirit, visit our souls; and with Thy heavenly grace fill the hearts that were made by Thee.
Thou art called the Paraclete, the Gift of the Most High God, the Living Fountain, Fire, Love, and Spiritual Unction.
Thou art seven fold in Thy gifts; the Finger of the Father’s hand; the Father’s solemn Promise, that enrichest men with the gift of tongues.
Enkindle thy light in our minds; infuse thy love into our hearts; and strengthen the weaknesses of our flesh by Thine unfailing power.
Repel the enemy far from us, and delay not to give us peace; by Thou our guide, that we may shun all that could bring us harm.
Grant that, through Thee, we may know the Father and the Son; and that we may evermore confess Thee the Spirit of them both.
Glory be to God the Father, and to the Son Who rose from the dead, and to the Paraclete, for everlasting ages! Amen.
Whit Sunday, The Day of Pentecost
(by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870)
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.
The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has, at last, shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St. Luke says, are accomplished (Acts. ii. 1). We have had seven weeks since the Pasch; and now comes the day that opens the mysterious number of Fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the Creation of the Light, and by the Resurrection of Jesus; it is about to receive its final consecration, and bring us the fullness of God (Eph. iii. 19).
In the Old and figurative Law, God foreshadowed the glory that was to belong, at a future period, to the Fiftieth Day. Israel had passed the waters of the Red Sea, thanks to the protecting power of his Paschal Lamb! Seven weeks were spent in the Desert, which was to lead to the Promised Land; and the very morrow of those seven weeks was the day, whereon was made the alliance between God and his people. The Pentecost (the Fiftieth Day) was honored by the promulgation of the ten commandments of the Divine Law; and every following year, the Israelites celebrated the great event by a solemn Festival. But their Pentecost was figurative, like their Pasch: there was to be a second Pentecost for all people, as there was to be a second Pasch for the Redemption of the whole world. The Pasch, with all its triumphant joys, belongs to the Son of God, the Conqueror of death: Pentecost belongs to the Holy Ghost, for it is the day whereon He began His mission into this world, which, henceforward, was to be under His Law.
But, how different are the two Pentecosts! The one, on the rugged rocks of Arabia, amidst thunder and lightning, promulgates a Law that is written on tablets of stone; the second is in Jerusalem, on which God’s anger has not as yet been manifested, because it still contains within its walls the first-fruits of that new people, over whom the Spirit of love is to reign. In this second Pentecost, the heavens are not overcast, nor is the roar of thunder heard; the hearts of men are not stricken with fear, as when God spake on Sinai; repentance and gratitude, these are the sentiments which are now uppermost. A divine fire burns within their souls, and will spread throughout the whole world. Our Lord Jesus had said: I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled (St. Luke, xii. 49)? The hour for the fulfillment of this word is come: the Spirit of Love, the Holy Ghost, the eternal uncreated Flame, is about to descend from heaven, and realize the merciful design of our Redeemer.
Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims, who have flocked thither from every country of the Gentile world: they feel a strange mysterious expectation working in their souls. They are Jews, and are come from every foreign land where Israel has founded a Synagogue; they are come to keep the feasts of Pasch and Pentecost. Asia, Africa, and even Rome, have here their representatives. Amidst these Jews properly so called, are to be seen many Gentiles, who, from a desire to serve God more faithfully, have embraced the Mosaic law and observances; they are called Proselytes. This influx of strangers, who have come to Jerusalem out of a desire to observe the Law, gives the City a Babel-like appearance, for each nation has its own language. They are not, however, under the influence of pride and prejudice, as are the inhabitants of Judea; neither have they, like these latter, known and rejected the Messias, nor blasphemed His works whereby He gave testimony of His divine character. It may be that they took part with the other Jews in clamouring for Jesus’ death, but they were led to it by the Chief Priests and Magistrates of the Jerusalem which they reverenced as the holy City of God, and to which nothing but religious motives have brought them.
It is the hour of Tierce, the third hour of the day (Our nine o’clock. Acts, ii. 15), fixed from all eternity, for the accomplishment of a divine decree. It was at the hour of midnight, that the Father sent into this world, that He might take flesh in Mary’s womb, the Son eternally begotten of Himself: so now, at this hour of Tierce, the Father and Son, send upon the earth the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from them both. He is sent to form the Church, the Spouse and Kingdom of Christ; He is to assist and maintain her; He is to save and sanctify the souls of men; and this His Mission is to continue to the end of time.
Suddenly is heard, coming from heaven, the sound of a violent wind: it startles the people in the City, it fills the Cenacle with its mighty breath. A crowd is soon round the house that stands on Mount Sion; the hundred and twenty Disciples that are within the building, feel that mysterious emotion within them, of which their Master once said: The Spirit breatheth where He will, and thou hearest His voice (St. John, iii. 8). Like that strange invisible creature, which probes the very depth of the sea and makes the waves heave mountains high, this Breath from heaven will traverse the world from end to end, breaking down every barrier that would stay its course.
The holy assembly have been days in fervent expectation; the Divine Spirit gives them this warning of His coming, and they, in the passiveness of extatic longing, await his will. As to them that are outside the Cenacle, and have responded to the appeal thus given, let us, for the moment, forget them. A silent shower falls in the House; it is a shower of Fire, which, as holy Church says, “burns not, but enlightens, consumes not, but shines (Responsory for the Thursday within the Octave).” Flakes of fire, in the shape of tongues, rest on the heads of the hundred and twenty Disciples: it is the Holy Ghost taking possession of all and each. The Church is now, not only in Mary, but also in these hundred and twenty Disciples. All belong now to the Spirit that has descended upon them; His kingdom is begun, it is manifested, its conquests will be speedy and glorious.
But let us consider the symbol chosen to designate this divine change. He Who showed himself under the endearing form of a Dove, on the occasion of Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, now appears under that of Fire. He is the Spirit of Love; and love is not only gentle and tender, it is, also, ardent as fire. Now, therefore, that the world is under the influence of the Holy Ghost, it must needs be on fire, and the fire shall not be checked. And why this form of Tongues? To show that the heavenly fire is to be spread by the word, by speech. These hundred and twenty Disciples need but to speak of the Son of God, made Man, and our Redeemer; of the Holy Ghost, Who renews our souls; of the heavenly Father, who loves and adopts us as His children; their word will find thousands to believe and welcome it. Those that receive it, shall all be united in one faith; they shall be called the Catholic Church, that is, universal, existing in all places and times. Jesus had said: Go, teach all nations (St. Matth. xxviii. 19)!–the Holy Ghost brings from heaven both the tongue that is to teach, and the fire, (the love of God and mankind,) which is to give warmth and efficacy to the teaching. This Tongue and Fire are now given to these first Disciples, who, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, will transmit them to others: so will it be to the end of time.
An obstacle, however, opposes the mission at the very onset. Since the confusion at Babel, there have been as many languages as countries; communication by word has been interrupted. How, then, is the word to become the instrument of the world’s conquest, and make one family out of all these nations, that cannot understand each other? Fear not: the Holy Spirit is all-powerful, and has provided for this difficulty. With the other gifts, wherewith He has enriched the hundred and twenty Disciples, He has given them that of understanding all languages, and of making themselves understood in every language. In a transport of holy enthusiasm, they attempt to speak the languages of all nations their tongue and their ear take in, not only without effort, but even with charm and joy, this plenitude of word and speech which is to re-unite mankind together. The Spirit of love has annulled the separation of Babel; men are once more made Brethren by the unity of language.
How beautiful art thou, dear Church of our God! Heretofore, the workings of the Holy Ghost have been limited; but now, He breatheth freely where He willeth; He brings thee forth to the eyes of men by this stupendous prodigy. Thou art the image of what this earth was, when all its inhabitants spoke the same language. The prodigy is not to cease with the day of Pentecost, nor with the Disciples who are its first receivers. When the Apostles have terminated their lives and preaching, the gift of tongues, at least in its miraculous form, will cease, because no longer needed: but thou, O Church of Christ! wilt continue to speak all languages, even to the end of time, for thou art to dwell in every clime. The one same Faith is to be expressed in the language of every country; and thus transformed, the miracle of Pentecost is to be kept up forever within thee, as one of thy characteristic marks.
The great St. Augustine alluded to this, when he spoke the following admirable words: “The whole body of Christ, the Church, now speaks in all tongues. Nay, I myself speak all tongues, for I am in the body of Christ, I am in the Church of Christ. If the body of Christ now speaks all languages, then am I in all languages. Greek is mine, Syriac is mine, Hebrew is mine, and all are mine, for I am one with all the several nations that speak them (Enarratio in Psalmum cxlvii. vers. 14).” During the Ages of Faith, the Church, (which is the only source of all true progress,) succeeded in giving one common language to all the nations that were in union with her. For centuries, the Latin language was the bond of union between civilized countries. However distant these might be from one another, there was this link of connection between them; it was the medium of communication for political negotiations, for the spread of science, or for friendly epistolary correspondence. No one was a stranger, in any part of the West, or even beyond it, who could speak this language. The great heresy of the 16th century robbed us of this as of so many other blessings; it dismembered that Europe, which the Church had united, not only by her Faith, but by her language. But let us return to the Cenacle, and continue our contemplation of the wondrous workings of the Holy Spirit within this still closed sanctuary.
First of all, we look for Mary; for Her who now, more than ever, is full of grace. After those measureless gifts lavished upon her in her Immaculate Conception; after the treasures of holiness infused into her by the Incarnate Word during the nine months she bore Him in her womb; after the special graces granted her for acting and suffering in union with her Son, in the work of the world’s Redemption; after the favors wherewith this same Jesus loaded her when in the glory of His Resurrection; after all this, we should have thought that heaven had given all it could give to a mere creature, however sublime the destiny of that creature might be. But no. Here is a new mission opened for Mary. The Church is born; she is born of Mary. Mary has given birth to the Spouse of her Son; new duties fall upon the Mother of the Church. Jesus has ascended into heaven, leaving Mary upon the earth, that she may nurse the infant-Church. Oh! how lovely, and yet how dignified, is this infancy of our dear Church, cherished as she is, fed, and strengthened by Mary! But this second Eve, this true Mother of the living? must receive a fresh infusion of grace to fit her for this her new office: therefore it is, that She has the first claim to, and the richest portion of, the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Heretofore, He overshadowed her and made her Mother of the Son of God; now, He makes her the Mother of the Christian people. It is the verification of those words of the Royal Prophet: The stream (literally, the impetuosity) of the river maketh the City of God joyful: the Most High hath sanctified His own Tabernacle (Ps. xlv. 5). The Spirit of Love here fulfils the intention expressed by our Redeemer when dying on the Cross. Woman! said Jesus to her, behold thy Son! St. John was this son, and he represented all mankind. The Holy Ghost now infuses into Mary the plenitude of the grace needful for her maternal mission. From this day forward, she acts as Mother of the infant Church: and when, at length, the Church no longer needs her visible presence, this Mother quits the earth for heaven, where she is crowned Queen; but there, too, she exercises her glorious title and office of Mother of men. Let us contemplate this master-piece of Pentecost, and admire the new loveliness that beams in Mary from this second Maternity. She is inflamed by the fire of divine love, and this in a way not felt before. She is all devoted to the office put upon her, and for which she has been left on earth. The grace of the Apostolate is granted to her. She has received the tongue of fire; and although her voice is not to make itself heard in public preaching, yet will she speak to the Apostles, directing and consoling them in their labors. She will speak, too, to the Faithful, but with a force, sweetness, and persuasiveness, becoming one whom God has made the most exalted of His creatures. The primitive Christians, with such a training as this, will have a vigour and an energy enough to resist all the attacks of hell, and, like Stephen, who had often listened to her inspiring words, die Martyrs for the Faith.
Let us next look at the Apostolic College. The frequent instructions they have been receiving from their Lord, during the forty days after His Resurrection, have changed them into quite other men; but now that they have received the Holy Ghost, the change and conversion is complete. They are filled with the enthusiasm of faith; their souls are on fire with divine love; the conquest of the whole world, this is their ambition, and they know it is their mission. What their Master had told them, is fulfilled: they are endued with Power from on high (St. Luke, xxiv. 49) and are ready for the battle. Who would suppose that these are the men who crouched with fear, when their Jesus was in the hands of His enemies? Who would take these to be the men that doubted of His Resurrection? All that this beloved Master has taught them is now so clear to them! They see it all, they understand it all. The Holy Ghost has infused into them, and in a sublime degree, the gift of Faith; they are impatient to spread this Faith throughout the whole earth. Far from fearing, they even long to suffer persecution in the discharge of the office entrusted to them by Jesus that of preaching His name and His glory unto all nations.
Look at Peter. You easily recognize him by that majestic bearing, which, though sweetly tempered by deep humility, bespeaks his pre-eminent dignity. A few hours ago, it was the tranquil gravity of the Head of the Apostolic College; now, his whole face gleams with the flash of enthusiasm, for the Holy Ghost is now sovereign possessor of this Vicar of Christ, this Prince of the word, this master-teacher of truth. Near him are seated the other Apostles: Andrew, his elder brother, who now conceives that ardent passion for the Cross, which is to be his grand characteristic; John, whose meek and gentle eye now glistens with the fire of inspiration, betokening the Prophet of Patmos; James, the brother of John, and called, like him, the son of thunder (St. Mark, iii. 17), bears in his whole attitude the appearance of the future chivalrous conqueror of Iberia. The other James, known and loved under the name of Brother of Jesus, feels a fresh and deeper transport of joyousness as the power of the Spirit thrills through his being. Matthew is encircled with a glowing light, which points him out to us as the first writer of the New Testament. Thomas, whose faith was the fruit he took from Jesus’ Wounds, feels that faith now made perfect; it is generous, free, unreserved, worthy of the brave Apostle of the far East. In a word, all Twelve are a living hymn to the glory of the almighty Spirit, Whose power is thus magnificently evinced even at the onset of His reign.
The Disciples, too, are sharers, though in a less degree than the Apostles, of the divine gifts; they receive the same Spirit, the same sacred Fire, for they, too, are to go forth, conquer the world, and found Churches. The holy Women, also, who form part of the assembly of the Cenacle, have received the graces of this wondrous Descent of the Holy Ghost. It was love that emboldened them to stand near the Cross of Jesus, and be the first to visit His Sepulchre on Easter morning; this love is now redoubled. A tongue of fire has stood over each of them, and the time will come when they will speak, with fervid eloquence, of Jesus, to both Jews and Gentiles. The Synagogue will banish Magdalene and her Companions: the Gentiles of our western Europe will receive them, and the word of these holy exiles will produce a hundredfold of fruit.
Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews has collected round the mysterious Cenacle. Not only has the mighty wind excited their curiosity, but, moreover, that same divine Spirit, Who is working such wonders upon the holy assembly within, is impelling them to visit the House, wherein is the new-born Church of Christ. They clamour for the Apostles, and these are burning with zeal to begin their work: so, too, are all. At once, then, the crowd sees these men standing in its midst, and relating the prodigy that has been wrought by the God of Israel.
What is the surprise of this multitude, composed as it is of people of so many different nations, when these poor uneducated Galileans address them, each in the language of his own country? They have heard them speak before this, and they expected a repetition of the jargon now; when, lo! there is the correct accent and diction of every country, and with such eloquence! The symbol of unity is here shown in all its magnificence. Here is the Christian Church, and it is One, One though consisting of such varied elements: the walls of division, which divine justice had set up between nation and nation, are now removed. Here, also, are the heralds of the Faith of Christ: they are ready for their grand mission; they long to traverse the earth, and save it by the word of their preaching.
But, in the crowd, there are some who are shocked at witnessing this heavenly enthusiasm of the Apostles. These men, say they, are full of new wine! It is the language of rationalism, explaining away mystery by reason. These Galileans, these drunken men, are, however, to conquer the whole world to Christ, and give the Holy Ghost, with His inebriating unction, to all mankind. The holy Apostles feel that it is time to proclaim the new Pentecost; yes, this anniversary of the Old is a fitting day for the New to be declared. But, in this proclamation of the law of mercy and love, which is to supersede the law of justice and fear, who is to be the Moses? Our Emmanuel, before ascending into heaven, had selected one of the Twelve for the glorious office: it is Peter, the Rock on whom is built the Church. It is time for the Shepherd to show himself, and speak, for the Flock is now to be formed. Let us hearken to the Holy Ghost, Who is about to speak, by his chief organ, to this wondering and attentive multitude. The Apostle, though he speaks in one tongue, is understood by each of his audience, no matter what his country and language may be. The discourse is, of its own-self, a guarantee of the truth and divine origin of the new law.
The fisherman of Genesareth thus pours forth his wondrous eloquence: “Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and, with your ears, receive my words! For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids, will I pour out, in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’ Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you also know. This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, by the hands of wicked men, have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell (the tomb), as it was impossible that He should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: ‘My flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not leave my soul in the Tomb, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.’ Ye men, Brethren, let me freely speak to you of the Patriarch David: that he died and was buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. Whereas, therefore, he was a Prophet, he spoke of the Resurrection of Christ; for neither was He ‘left in the Tomb,’ neither did his ‘flesh’ see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. Therefore, let all the House of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ this same Jesus, Whom you have crucified (Acts, ii. 14-36).”
Thus did the second Moses promulgate the New Law. How must not his hearers have welcomed the stupendous gift of this new Pentecost, which put them in possession of the divine realities foreshadowed by that figurative one of old! Here again, it was God revealing Himself to His creatures, and, as usual, by miracles. Peter alludes to the wonders wrought by Jesus, Who thus bore testimony of His being the Messias. He tells his audience, that the Holy Ghost has been sent from heaven, according to the promise made to this Jesus by his Father: they have proof enough of the great fact, in the gift of tongues of which themselves are witnesses.
The Holy Spirit makes His presence and influence to be felt in the hearts of these favored listeners. A few moments previous, and they were disciples of Sinai, who had come from distant lands to celebrate the by-gone Pasch and Pentecost; now they have faith, simple and full faith, in Christ. They repent the awful crime of His Death, of which they have been accomplices; they confess His Resurrection and Ascension; they beseech Peter and the rest of the Apostles to put them in the way of salvation: Men and Brethren! say they, what shall we do (Acts, ii. 37)? Better dispositions could not be: they desire to know their duty, and are determined to do it. Peter resumes his discourse, saying: “Do penance, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call (Ibid. 38, 39).”
The Jewish Pentecost pales at each word of the new Moses; the Christian Pentecost manifests itself with clearer light. The reign of the Holy Ghost is inaugurated in Jerusalem, and under the very shadow of that Temple which is doomed to destruction. Peter continued his instructions; but the sacred volume has left us only these few words, wherewith, probably, the Apostle made his final appeal to his hearers: “Save yourselves from this perverse generation (Acts. ii 40)!
Yes, these children of Israel had to make this sacrifice, or they never could have shared in the graces of the new Pentecost; they had to cut themselves off from their own people; they had to leave the Synagogue for the Church. There was a struggle in many a heart at that moment; but the Holy Spirit triumphed; three thousand declared themselves disciples of Christ, and received the mark of adoption in holy Baptism. Church of the living God! how lovely art thou in thy first reception of the divine Spirit! how admirable is thy early progress! Thy first abode was in the Immaculate Mary, the Virgin full of grace, the Mother of God; thy second victory gave thee the hundred and twenty Disciples of the Cenacle; and now, three thousand elect proclaim thee as their Mother, and, leaving the unhappy Jerusalem, will carry thy name and kingdom to their own countries. Tomorrow, Peter is to preach in the Temple, and five thousand men will enroll themselves as Disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Hail! then, dear creation of the Holy Ghost! Militant on earth; triumphant in heaven; beautiful, noble, immortal Church! all hail! And thou, bright Pentecost! day of our truest birth! how fair, how glorious, thou makest these first hours of Jesus’ Spouse on earth! The Divine Spirit thou givest us, has written, not upon stone, but upon our hearts, the Law that is to govern us. In thee, O Pentecost! we find realized the hopes foreshadowed in the mystery of the Epiphany; for though thyself art promulgated in Jerusalem, yet thy graces are to be extended to all that are afar off, that is, to us Gentiles. The Magi came from the East; we watched them as they visited the Crib of the Divine Babe, for we knew that we, too, were to have our season of grace. It was Thou, O Holy Spirit! that didst attract them to Bethlehem: and now, in this Pentecost of Thy power, Thou callest all men; the Star is changed into Tongues of Fire, and the face of the earth is to be renewed. Oh! grant that we may be ever faithful to the graces Thou offerest us, and carefully treasure the Gifts sent us, with Thee and through Thee, by the Father and the Son!
The mystery of Pentecost holds so important a place in the Christian dispensation, that we cannot be surprised at the Church’s ranking it, in her Liturgy, on an equality with her Paschal Solemnity. The Pasch is the redemption of man by the victory of Christ; Pentecost is the Holy Ghost taking possession of man redeemed. The Ascension is the intermediate mystery; it consummates the Pasch, by placing the Man-God, the Conqueror of death, and our Head, at the right hand of the Father; it prepares the mission of the Holy Ghost to our earth. This mission could not take place until Jesus had been glorified, as St. John tells us (St. John, vii. 39); and there are several reasons assigned for it by the Holy Fathers. It was necessary that the Son of God, Who, together with the Father, is the principle of the procession of the Holy Ghost in the divine essence, should also personally send this Divine Spirit upon the earth. The exterior mission of one of the Three Persons is but the sequel and manifestation of the mysterious and eternal production which is ever going on within the Divinity. Thus the Father is not sent either by the Son or by the Holy Ghost, because He does not proceed from them. The Son is sent to men by the Father, of Whom He is eternally begotten. The Holy Ghost is sent by the Father and the Son, because He proceeds from both. But, in order that the mission of the Holy Ghost might give greater glory to the Son, there was a congruity in its not taking place until such time as the Incarnate Word should be enthroned at the right hand of the Father. How immense the glory of Human Nature, that it was hypostatically united to the Person of the Son of God when this mission of the Holy Ghost was achieved! and that we can say, in strict truth, the Holy Ghost was sent by the Man-God!
This divine Mission was not to be given to the Third Person, until men were deprived of the visible presence of Jesus. As we have already said, the hearts of the Faithful were henceforward to follow their absent Redeemer by a purer and wholly spiritual love. Now, Who was to bring us this new love, if not He Who is the link of the eternal love of the Father and the Son? This Holy Spirit of love and union is called, in the Sacred Scriptures?, the “Gift of God (St. John, iv. 10);” and it is on the day of Pentecost that the Father and Son send us this ineffable Gift. Let us call to mind the words spoken by our Emmanuel to the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Sichar: If thou didst know the Gift of God (St. John, iv. 10)! He had not yet been given, He had not yet been manifested, otherwise than in a partial way. From this day forward, He inundates the whole earth with his Fire, He gives spiritual life to all, He makes His influence felt in every place. We know the Gift of God; so that we have but to open our hearts to receive Him, as did the three thousand who listened to St. Peter’s sermon.
Observe, too, the Season of the Year, in which the Holy Ghost comes to take possession of His earthly kingdom. Our Jesus, the Sun of Justice, arose in Bethlehem in the very depth of winter; humble and gradual was His ascent to the zenith of His glory. But the Spirit of the Father and the Son came in the Season that harmonizes with His own divine characteristic. He is a consuming Fire (Deut. iv. 24); He comes into the world when summer is in his pride, and sunshine decks our earth with loveliest flowers. Let us welcome the life-giving heat of the Holy Ghost, and earnestly beseech Him that it may ever abide within us. The Liturgical Year has brought us to the full possession of Truth by the Incarnate Word; let us carefully cherish the Love, which the Holy Ghost has now enkindled within our hearts.
The Christian Pentecost, prefigured by the ancient one of the Jews, is of the number of the Feasts that were instituted by the Apostles. As we have already remarked, it formerly shared with Easter the honor of the solemn administration of Baptism. Its Octave, like that of Easter, and for the same reason, ended with the Saturday following the Feast. The Catechumens received Baptism on the night between Saturday and Sunday. So that the Pentecost Solemnity began on the Vigil, for the Neophytes at once put on their white garments: on the eighth day, the Saturday, they laid them aside.
In the Middle-Ages, the Feast of Pentecost was called by the beautiful name of The Pasch of Roses, just as the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension was termed the Sunday of Roses. The colour and fragrance of this lovely flower were considered by our Catholic Forefathers as emblems of the Tongues of Fire, which rested on the heads of the hundred and twenty Disciples, and poured forth the sweet gifts of love and grace on the infant Church. The same idea suggested the red-coloured Vestments for the Liturgical Services during the whole Octave. In his Rational, (a work which abounds in most interesting information regarding the Medieeval Liturgical usages,) Durandus tells us, that in the 13th Century, a Dove was allowed to fly about in the Church, and flowers and lighted tow were thrown down from the roof, during the Mass on Whit Sunday; these were allusions to the two mysteries of Jesus’ Baptism, and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost.
At Rome, the Station is in the Basilica of Saint Peter. It was but just, that special honour should be paid to the Prince of the Apostles, for it was on this day that his preaching won three thousand converts to the Church. Though the Station, and the Indulgences attached to it, are at Saint Peter’s, yet the Sovereign Pontiff and the sacred College of Cardinals solemnize today’s Service in the Lateran Basilica, which is the Mother Church of the City and the World.
Thomas Rosica CSB, has just received an award from a self-proclaimed “communications ministry” office of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Rosica claims that “Francis has rebranded Catholicism”. What does he mean? Rosica, further develops an Hegelian dialectic where he suggests that contrasting positions [theses and antithesis] are “forged” in a “new, better consensus” [synthesis]. Just what are these “contrasting positions” that need to be forged via a “consensus”?
The Grand Master of the Italian Grand Orient, Stefano Bisi, has some very interesting words to say regarding the “dialogue” between the Catholic Church as exemplified by Gianofranco Cardinal Ravasi and Freemasonry. Any further commentary is superfluous.
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Today is known on the Christian calendar by at least six names.
In the traditional Missale Romanum, it is referred to as “Dominica in albis octava Paschae” — Sunday in White Within the Paschal Octave, when the robes of the neophytes are removed eight days after their initiation into the Sacraments during the Paschal Vigil. In the traditional Roman calendar, it was officially known as “The Octave Day of Easter” or more colloquially as “Low Sunday.” It was also popularly known as “Quasimodo Sunday” (my personal favorite, hence the title), after the first words of the Entrance Antiphon, or Introit: “Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia …” (“Like newborn infants, alleluia …”) In the Eastern churches, it is known as “Thomas Sunday” as the same gospel is read, that of our Lord showing himself to the doubting apostle Thomas.
Editor’s Note:Mercy and Justice work hand in hand. Very rarely spoken of today except by holy priests who are true to the Faith. They are admonished for it and are suffering as “white martyrs”. Pray for them.
Sin is a separation of the sinner from God, a servant’s desertion of his master, the son’s abandonment of his loving father. When man offends the Lord by transgressing His holy law, he says with Agar: “I flee from the face of my master.’ with the difference, however, that Agar fled from a severe mistress; the sinner, however, flees from His most merciful and good God, upon whom he impudently turns his back. In this miserable state the sinner will walk in the wrong path, from one abyss of crime to another. his punishment is already assured; hell is ready to swallow him.
Richly has he deserved destruction, but God in His great mercy wishes to save him. The sinner can, of himself, do nothing to return to God, but God, as it were, goes after him. he follows the straying creature, He seeks him out, calls unto him, and invites him to return to His lovingly outstretched arms.
Let us today consider the greatness of Divine mercy, and, at the same time, give attention to the fact that:
Only the contrite sinner may profit by this mercy, while the unrepentant sinner gains nothing, because the mercy of God is never separated from His justice.
The Mercy of God
Mercy comprises in itself, as St. Thomas remarks, two sentiments, that of sadness at the misfortune of the neighbor, and that of willingness to deliver him therefrom. God in His infinite love commissioned His only begotten Son to clothe Himself in our human nature, so that He might have compassion upon our misery, and sympathize with us. The Divine Word, however, was not content with sympathy for our ills, He wished to take upon Himself man’s punishment for sin, even death, so that the endurance of these sufferings would render Him all the more sympathetic to our misery. Hence, St. Paul writes, that Jesus Christ has an infinite compassion upon mankind, because He, although innocent desired to test the sufferings and the misery we endure, and through His own sufferings learn to have mercy and compassion upon ours.
The Divine Mercy is eternal, and He will have mercy on the contrite as long as He is God. Hence David sang: The mercy of the Lord is from eternity unto eternity upon them that fear Him. For from all eternity God decreed to make happy them that fear Him, to save them from every misery, in particular from damnation. To this end, Divine Mercy anticipates the actions of the just, it accompanies and guides them until death. God embraces all in His fatherly arms, great and small, rich and poor; no one is excluded who turns to Him with contrition. We read in holy Scriptures: “But thou has mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance: (Wisdom xi.24). no matter how numerous and grievous your sins, the mercy of God is greater and ready to forgive them. God delays the punishment so that the sinner may become converted.
God’s great mercy for the contrite sinner is testified to by Jesus Christ, especially in the beautiful parable of the prodigal son, After this unhappy youth had squandered his father’s substance by vicious excesses, he found himself in want and privation. He reflected upon his father’s kindness of heart and determined to turn to him and ask pardon for his misdeeds. And he had not even reached his father’s home, when the father, filled with love, hastened toward him, embraced him tenderly, and, without reproach for his shameful life and the gravity of his offenses clothed him anew, and rejoiced in his return, because he was happy at the conversion of the son who had been lost.
The Justice of God
The recalcitrant sinner, however, who is over confident of the Divine Mercy, will be all the more severely visited by the justice which he feared not. In order to understand this extremely important truth, we must remember that mercy and justice shine forth equally strong in every Divine action: His mercy always presupposes His justice. Whether God punishes or rewards, He does so always with regard to the graces that man has used or misused. Hence, we must not forget that the Divine justice will be exacting toward us.
Dear Brethren, we have abundantly experienced the Divine Mercy in ourselves. Raise your eyes to the crucified Jesus, and at the sight of God Incarnate, Who bled upon the Cross, in order to deliver us from Hell, and lead us to heaven, you will perceive the most extreme effort of His love. We have been born in the bosom of His holy Church, we have been led by the light of the Catholic faith, received nourishment for our souls in the Holy Sacraments, instructed through His holy gospel. But if, instead of corresponding to these graces by a righteous life, we multiply our sins, then we become worse than unbelievers, and the misuse of the mercies of Divine goodness will burden us with the wrath of Divine justice.
God is all benevolence and kindness, but when we take this as an indulgence to sin, we forget that God is also just. As the Divine clemency and goodness should encourage us, so, too, His justice ought to make us fear. God is all merciful, but reflect for how many years He has endured your sins, without punishing them; now, at any moment, stern justice may follow upon this great mercy. God is good, but His goodness cannot stand in opposition to His sanctity; it cannot foster weakness, it cannot favor hatred, nor sensual passions, it cannot encourage injustice and fraud, nor does it intend to populate heaven with profligates and adulterers. It is a just judgment of God that those who have ignored His mercy should be made to feel the effects of His justice.
Oh, sinner, upon you and upon you only, it depends to choose whether God should be your merciful Saviour, or your stern judge. You can now obtain mercy from God through contrition and penance; and upon your free will depends eternal death. Your stubbornness in sin will ultimately involve a severe judgment. God is all love, and desires the salvation of all. Nevertheless, he lets us have what we choose, be it punishment or reward. Amen
God’s Justice Toward Sinners
We read in the Gospel that our Divine Redeemer wept over Jerusalem, that unhappy city, so hardened in sin, because He foresaw its terrible destiny. His tears bear witness to His Divine justice, and they were shed also for every sinner who refuses to listen to God’s warnings and admonitions, or to the voice of confessors, and wastes the time of grace and repentance, putting off his conversion until the end of his life. Such a person will perish because he fails to recognize the days of his visitation, of admonition and of grace. God’s justice requires that this should be so. Let us today consider how this justice is displayed in God’s dealings with sinners.
The Mercy of God is Tempered with Justice
God is merciful; this is stated on almost every page of Holy Scripture. His mercy embraces heaven and earth, and includes even the most hardened sinners, as we see from the fact that our Saviour wept over the sinful city of Jerusalem. But God’s mercy is tempered with justice, for He is infinitely just, as well as infinitely merciful. His justice constrains Him to requite every man as he deserves, and our divine Redeemer, in speaking of the day of judgment, proclaimed this fact, for He said that the good would be rewarded, but the evil would hear the terrible sentence: “Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Even here on earth, God often punishes and rewards in such a way as to reveal His justice. We have an instance of just punishment in the destruction of Jerusalem, the city that knew not the time of its visitation and would not perceive what would be to its peace, not even on the day when our Lord in all meekness and humility entered the gates whence he was soon to come forth, bearing the heavy Cross amidst the jeers of the citizens. Jerusalem continued in sin until at length God’s mercy was exhausted, and His justice was brought down by the crimes of the wicked city, just as once it had consumed Sodom and Gomorrha.
God is Just in Punishing Sin
We must not be astonished if God’s justice constrains Him to punish hardened sinners; for if He invariably showed mercy and never inflicted punishment, He would wrong the good, who suffer much at the hands of the wicked, and He would actually encourage the evil to defy Him by continuing their sins and vices. When God punishes and condemns, He does so because sinners practically compel Him to punish them. He desires not the death of a sinner, but a sinner desires his own death, and demands it, as it were, of God’s justice. God acts like a king bringing a criminal to trial and condemning him to death in accordance with the law. In His compassion, He would fain save the wrongdoer, but He is prevented by justice, that has already given sentence against the sinner, and by the fact that mercy is true mercy only when it can be exercised without injury to justice.
The Justice of God Warns Us Against Presumption
We must never presumptuously rely upon God’s mercy when doing so involves a violation of His justice. Men are very prone to presumption of this kind. “God is a loving Father,” they say, “He is sure to forgive me,” and so they go on heaping sin upon sin, not thinking that this loving Father is also a stern and just Judge. Oh, you who continue presumptuously in your sins, always pleading in excuse for them that God is merciful, beware lest you share the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem–God’s vengeance fell suddenly upon the wretched city, when it was besieged by the Romans; many thousands perished by the sword, and still more died of starvation. It is gross presumption and a sin crying to heaven for vengeance, when a man persists in evil, relying on God’s mercy. In such a case a habit of sin is quickly formed, and this gives rise to obduracy and despair, that lead to hell. Our Lord shed tears over Jerusalem, but he did not save it; He wept over the city, but nevertheless He allowed it to be destroyed. In His mercy God is now calling you to do penance and be converted; if you do not obey and obey quickly, misery as great as that which fell upon Jerusalem may be your lot, and you too may perish suddenly and for ever. The God who did not spare a whole city and nation, but was obliged to sacrifice them to His justice, will not spare any sinner, when the measure of his guilt is filled up. We ought then to remember God’s justice, and not rely presumptuously on His mercy. Let us anticipate His judgment by doing penance and earnestly striving to amend whatever has been amiss in our lives hitherto. Fear, a wholesome fear of sin and of God’s justice, not a slavish fear, ought to accompany us through life, and then we shall some day meet in heaven around the throne of the Father of Mercies. Amen
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Let us sing Allelujahs to the King of Glory, Who, having laid down His life for our redemption, is now risen to the life immortal.
Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour, Who hath redeemed His people, and is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.
Praise Our Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.
Let those speak who have been redeemed by Our Lord: who have been delivered by Him out of the hands of the enemy.
That sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, straitened with poverty, and bound in irons.
And in their tribulation they cried to Our Lord: and He delivered them from all their calamities.
And He brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death, and broke asunder their chains.
Let them praise Our Lord for His wonderful deeds to the sons of men.
For He hath made the brazen gates fly in pieces, and hath broken the iron bars.
My soul, bless Our Lord: O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy greatness wonderfully to appear.
Thou hast put on majesty and glory: Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.
By the strength of Thy arm Thou hast dispersed Thy enemies: Thy youth is renewed as that of an eagle.
A voice of joy and of salvation is heard in the tents of the just.
The stone, which the builders rejected, is made the cornerstone.
This is the work of Our Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day which Our Lord hath made: let us triumph and rejoice therein.
Make this a day of solemnity; because Our Lord is exalted above His enemies.
Sing to Our Lord a new canticle: let His praise be celebrated in the assembly of saints.
Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour: because He hath redeemed His people:
And is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.
Jesus, Redeemer of mankind, Have mercy on us.
Jesus, Who hast cleansed us by Thy Blood,
Have mercy on us.
Jesus, the Conqueror of sin and death,
Have mercy on us.
We sinners: Beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may put off the old man with his acts,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That we may not be conformed to this world,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That we may deny ourselves all ungodliness and worldly desires,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That we may live soberly, justly, and piously,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That being dead to sin, we may live to justice,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That rising with Thee, our Redeemer, we may sin no more.
We beseech Thee to hear us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Let us pray:
O God, Who on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: do Thou follow with Thine aid the desires which Thou dost put into our minds and by Thy continual help bring the same to good effect. Through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
The Resurrection of Christ Sermon by the Rev. Thomas F. Burke, C.S.P.
I. No other fact has been such a power in the world as that which we commemorate today, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the annals of religion and its progress, in the records of faith and its victories, in the history of morality and its advancement, in the story of charity and its achievements, there has been no factor so influential. It is bound up most intimately and closely with human life. Even those who deny it as a myth are living today under conditions which would not exist had not centuries of Christian people believed in this great fact.
The Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith, because it is the proof supreme of His Divinity. Throughout His whole life, indeed, Christ was the revelation of God unto man.” God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.” The greatness, the beauty, the holiness, the majesty, the love, the mercy, the justice of God were manifested in the human life and actions of our Divine Lord upon earth. When an afflicted woman touched the hem of His garment and He cured her of her sickness; when the blind man cried out to Him, “Lord, that I may see,” and He gave him sight; when a ruler begged that his child might not die, and Jesus infused new vigor and health; when a sister and again a mother were in grief over the loss of a loved one, and He called the dead back to life; when a thief dying on a cross sought for pardon, and Jesus washed away the guilt of sin– in these and in many other instances He gave proof that He was divine.
All these, however, are subordinate to the one grand, triumphal fact which is the corner-stone of Christianity, and upon which all the rest of the structure depends–the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. So could the Apostle say: “If Christ be not risen from the dead, vain is our preaching, vain is your faith.”
He who admits the Resurrection must hold to Christ’s Divinity, and consequently to His divine right to be the Guide and Teacher of man. On the other hand, he who denies the Resurrection will not hesitate to sacrifice altogether belief in the divine prerogatives and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.
II. Relying upon the Gospel narrative, my dear brethren, and upon the innumerable references throughout the New Testament, we must conclude that no fact in the world’s history is more incontestably established than the Resurrection of Christ; and yet we are brought face to face with the denial of this, by some at least.
The New Testament gives us evidence after evidence of the Truth, God Himself foretold His resurrection. The spirit of prophecy rested upon Him, and at times, for the sake of His followers, He lifted the veil that hangs beyond and revealed the vision, dimly it may have been, of future triumph and glory. When some would ask Him for a sign. He spoke of the sign of Jonas the prophet: ” For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt. xii. 40).
When about to go up to Jerusalem for the last time. He foretold what would happen to the Son of man: “The scribes and Pharisees . . . shall deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day he shall rise again” (Matt. xx. 18, 19).
At the time of His glorious transfiguration, when His favored Apostles would have rushed through the world proclaiming the miracle, “he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead” (Mark ix. 8).
Again, “Destroy,” said He, “this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of His body” (John ii. 19, 21).
These are but examples of His declarations to the effect that His suffering would be followed by joy, His night by day, His death by victory. His words were so understood and acted upon by the rulers of the Jews. “Sir,” they said to Pilate “we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead” (Matt. xxvii. 63, 64). The Jews therefore were prepared for any trickery.
The lifeless body was placed in the tomb; a special detachment of Roman soldiers, with instructions to more than ordinary watchfulness, was placed on guard and the tomb itself was officially sealed. Despite these measures, defying the seal of Rome and its Roman guardians, Christ rose triumphantly from the dead. On the very day of His resurrection He appeared unto the repentant and the rejoicing Mary Magdalen. Then to Peter, His chosen vicar, and to John, His especially beloved. In the evening of the same day He walked with two of His followers to the town of Emmaus, and later appeared unto His assembled Apostles.
After the first day, at least six separate appearances are recorded. As before His death, now after His resurrection, He conversed with His Apostles, spoke to His disciples, ate and drank with them. He brought certainty to the doubting Thomas, the sceptic apostle whose fault begot those consoling words, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” Upon a mountain in Galilee, in the midst of five hundred people, beside the sacred shores of the Lake of Tiberias, He appeared and spoke the words of light before which all lingering shadows of doubt were dispelled, and the flower of hope was newborn.
In reality, my dear brethren, if there be one fact in history which is better entitled to credit than any other, I do not hesitate to say that that fact is the glorious resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. Never, no, never, within the memory of man was any transaction transmitted through every successive generation, from the period of its occurrence to the present day, amid such a blaze of evidence. It is attested by the positive and unexceptionable testimony of persons of the highest integrity, who were themselves eyewitnesses of it, who saw Jesus dead, and who afterward beheld Him alive; who beheld Him not once or twice only, but frequently; not transiently, but for a considerable time; who not only beheld Him but who heard Him, conversed with Him, touched Him, ate and drank with Him, and had every imaginable certainty, both of the reality and identity of His person which it was possible for the evidence of the senses to convey, and who proved, moreover, their honesty and sincerity by that best of arguments, the shedding of their blood.
Had Christ not risen from the dead, there would be no Christianity. Had not Christ risen from the dead, the preaching of the Apostles would have been vain, and the people’s faith would ‘have been vain. A vain preaching and a vain faith would have failed long since. Nineteen centuries would not have passed to find that preaching and hope as strong as ever. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been annihilated in the ten great persecutions which the power of mighty Rome concocted for its destruction. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have succumbed to the efforts of him who when dying was forced to cry out: ” Galilean, Thou has conquered.” Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been swept from the face of the earth in the avalanche of paganism that from the north broke through the gates of the empire. Had it been a vain preaching, the third, second, yes, the first century would have stood beside its grave.
III. Yet in the light of these evidences, there are those today who deny the Resurrection. Upon theoretical grounds they declare its impossibility, because they hold that miracles in general are impossible. It is a question of fact more than theory. They would say: ” God cannot interfere with the established laws of the universe and the decrees of nature.”
God cannot interfere? What kind of a God? An impotent abstraction of the mind? But God is more than this. He is a reality, a personality. We are free agents. Our freedom is a perfection. If there be a God, He too must be free, and this implies the right and the power to make exceptions to His own laws.
IV. We can see that loss of faith in the Resurrection has brought with it the loss of belief in Jesus Christ, God and man, and is leading to the entire giving up of faith in God and the life to come. What is the cause of this ? One cause is disbelief in the records of the Resurrection, disbelief in the Scriptural account. Now, I maintain that the only place where belief in the Scriptures is securely retained, and the only place therefore where the fact of the Resurrection is safely guarded, is within the Catholic Church. She is the bulwark of the Resurrection. She is the one living witness of the fact that Christ rose from the dead.
Look about the world Today and you will find no body of people among whom there is the same respect, the same reverence, for the Scriptures as among the members of the Catholic Church. You will find no other church that holds with the same steadfastness to the sacredness of their character.
While among Christians outside the Catholic Church the principle of private interpretation of the Scriptures has led men to believe what they like, and has opened the way not only to difficulty but no doubt, she has stood in calm serenity and has held to her position as the teacher of men, the authoritative interpreter of Scriptures, appointed by Jesus Christ. While outside of her fold men are gradually coming to look upon the Scriptures as any other literature, she has unflinchingly declared them to be supreme over all other writings, to be the inspired truth of God. While at the best many will accord them only the credence given to human history, with its liability to prejudice and error, she proclaims them to be without error, because they are a Divine record of facts, stamped with the seal of heaven itself. While among skeptics the Scriptures are considered to be only a legendary legacy of bygone days, she, filled with the consciousness of her identity through the ages, can tell the world Today, as she has told it through nineteen centuries, “I know that these things are true.” And when, as the time goes on, amid those who have sacrificed belief in the Divine character of the Scriptures, they shall lose for them even the regard that is paid to human documents, she will stand, as heretofore, their staunchest defender.
V. Church of Christ, Thou art the one witness upon earth Today of the Resurrection. Thou alone hast breasted the storms of the centuries. Thou canst thus speak to the world: “Before Rationalism was, I am; before the Unitarian and the Socinian, I am; before Renan and Strauss, I am. Nations have lived and died; people have risen and fallen: ages have come and gone, I have witnessed their coming and their going. I have stood firm and unshaken amidst the storms of persecution, the assaults of infidelity, the ravages of licentiousness. I can carry the mind back to the time when the ‘smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon and camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian Amphitheater.’ I have witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome. I have witnessed the formation of the Christian nations of Europe; I have seen the savage civilized, the barbarian educated, the wild warrior subdued. I can link the twentieth century with the first. I have witnessed many of the events recorded in the New Testament. I am the living witness of all Christian ages, and I bear my testimony unto this day that Christ has risen.”
VI. Today, then, is the day of Christ’s triumph, the day of the Church’s rejoicing, that Church to which has been committed the preaching of the faith founded on His Resurrection. On the day of His death the world triumphed. Beside the cross the voice went up: “Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again: save thyself, come down from the cross.” Even then a word would have brought an army of smiling angels bearing fiery swords; even then a word would have struck down His persecutors; even then, did He desire it, that scene of death and defeat could have been changed into a heavenly victory. He could, but He would not, for then He was suffering for a guilt that was not His own. On the morn of the Resurrection another voice spoke. When the holy woman arrived at the tomb, an angel clothed in white stood before them and cried out, ” He is risen, he is not here.”
“Vah, . . . save thyself, come down from the cross.”
And the triumphant answer rolls on through the centuries: “He is risen, He is not here.”
Through the world it echoes: “He is risen, as He said.” It is the foundation of Christianity. The Apostles preached it and they knew whereof they spoke.
He is risen! It is confusion to the deniers of Christ’s Divinity, for, well founded as it is, it cannot be reasonably denied.
He is risen! It is the sign of Faith, inspiring that belief without which there is no salvation.
He is risen’ It is the promise and the hope of our resurrection upon the last day.
As we take a broad general view of the centuries, we seem to be standing in the nave of some vast cathedral. Over the distant altar we can see the inscription, ” He is risen, as he said.” From within this cathedral there issues forth the Christian song of triumph. Within its confines are gathered the hosts of witnesses from all times. We hear again the Evangelists chanting solemnly the simple story of Easter morn. We hear the whole body of the Apostles taking up the refrain and sounding it into all their followers. We hear St. Paul reiterating the sacred words and proclaiming that there is no Christianity without faith in the Resurrection. We hear the witnesses of the first centuries, the martyrs, clothed in blood-red garments, telling how with their life they bore testimony to the Resurrection of Christ. We hear Athanasius, the Saint of the Divinity, using the fact of the Resurrection against his adversaries; we hear his followers, the defenders of Christianity, smiling in their turn with the unanswerable argument of the Resurrection. From each century a song, and all unite in one grand symphony. The mighty anthem goes up; the song of triumph cleaves the sky: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”
And if by some miraculous power it were given us to look into the court of heaven; if for a moment, on this day, the eternal gates were lifted, we could hear issuing forth the song of the myriad angels, companions of those who stood within the tomb, the song of heaven’s triumph: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”
Right, then, is it that the Church on earth should on this day, above all others, rejoice. She sings today the triumph of her Founder. She chants today the glory of the Son of God. Our hearts, our wills, our minds, our souls are with her. The faith which springs up lively within our souls, the fountain of justification; the hope that inspires us in consequence of the great fact we commemorate; the charity towards God and man which is to be found only in the Christian heart; the joy that is the fruit of all these; the joy of sympathy with Jesus Christ the Victor, the Conqueror–all these are summed up in that cry which our beloved Church in her raptures of love repeats again and again: Resurrexit sicut dixit,” He said He would arise, and He has Risen.”