He is Risen! – Crisis Magazine

[Editor’s Note: The passage below is from Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D (Baronius Press), originally published in 1963. Happy Easter!]

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein” (Roman Breviary). This is the most excellent day, the happiest day in the whole year, because it is the day when “Christ, our Pasch, has been sacrificed.” Christmas, too, is a joyous feast, but whereas Christmas vibrates with a characteristic note of sweetness, the Paschal solemnity resounds with an unmistakable note of triumph; it is joy for the triumph of Christ, for His victory. The liturgy of the Mass shows us this Paschal joy under two aspects: joy in truth (Epistle: 1 Cor 5:7,8) and joy in charity (Postcommunion).

Joy in truth: According to the vibrant admonition of St. Paul, “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven … but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” In this world there are many ephemeral joys, based on fragile, insecure foundations; but the Paschal joy is solidly grounded on the knowledge that we are in the truth, the truth which Christ brought to the world and which He confirmed by His Resurrection.

The Resurrection tells us that our faith is not in vain, that our hope is not founded on a dead man, but on a living one, the Living One par excellence, whose life is so strong that it vivifies, in time as in eternity, all those who believe in Him. “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live” (John 11:25). Joy in truth: for only sincere and upright souls who seek the truth lovingly and, still more, “do the truth” can fully rejoice in the Resurrection. We are sincere when we recognize ourselves for what we are, with all our faults, deficiencies, and need for conversion.

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

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From this knowledge of our miseries springs the sincere resolve to purify ourselves of the old leaven of the passions in order to be renewed completely in the risen Christ. Truth, however, must be accomplished in charity–veritatem facientes in caritatem, doing the truth in charity (Ephesians 4:15); therefore the Postcommunion prayer that is placed on our lips is more timely than ever: “Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, to make us of one heart.” Without unity and mutual charity, there can be no real Paschal joy.

The Gospel (Mark 16:1-7) places before our eyes the faithful holy women who, at the first rays of the Sunday dawn, run to the sepulcher, and on the way, wonder: “Who will roll back the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us?” This preoccupation, although it is well justified on account of the size and weight of the stone, does not deter them from proceeding with their plans; they are too much taken up with the desire of finding Jesus! And behold! hardly have they arrived when they see “the stone rolled back.”

They enter the tomb and find an Angel who greets them with the glad announcement: “He is risen; He is not here.” At this time, Jesus does not let Himself be found or seen; but a little later when, in obedience to the command of the Angel, the women leave the tomb to bring the news to the disciples, He will appear before them saying, “All hail!” (Matthew 28:9), and their joy will be overwhelming.

We, too, have a keen desire to find the Lord; perhaps we have been seeking Him for many long years. Further, this desire may have been accompanied by serious preoccupation with the question of how we might rid ourselves of the obstacles and roll away from our souls the stone which has prevented us thus far from finding the Lord, from giving ourselves entirely to Him, and from letting Him triumph in us.

Precisely because we want to find the Lord, we have already overcome many obstacles, sustained by His grace; divine Providence has helped us roll away many stones, overcome many difficulties. Nevertheless, the search for God is progressive, and must be maintained during our whole life. For this reason, following the example of the holy women, we must always have a hold preoccupation about finding the Lord, a preoccupation which will make us industrious and diligent in seeking Him, and at the same time confident of the divine aid, since the Lord will certainly take care that we arrive where our own strength could never bring us, because He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Every year Easter marks the time of renewal in our spiritual life, in our search for God; every year we re-ascend the path toward Him in novitate vitae, in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

[Image: Resurrection of Christ in the Vatican’s Tapestry Gallery]

  • Crisis Magazine has been America’s leading source for Catholic perspectives on religion, politics, and culture since 1982.

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