Thoughts on the Passion for Each Day in Lent

  • “He is risen! He is not here!”  Consider the glory of the blessed body of Jesus, when reunited to His soul, free from all infirmity, its wounds changed into so many sources of light.  The glory of the divinity shines forth from the tomb, from which He issues as sovereign Lord of life and death.  He comes forth risen from weakness into power and strength, from the ignominy of His passion into honor and glory.  So let it be said of you, “He is risen!  He is not here!”  Risen from the tomb of sin, of evil habits, of indifference.  Risen from forgetfulness of God, from uncharitableness, from self-indulgence.

  • We should reflect that the resurrection of Christ is an assured pledge of our own, and that our body, if we have laboured to sanctify it here below, will one day participate in the qualities of the glorified body of Jesus Christ. GROU.

    THIS is the Christian Pasch, or Passover. The Jewish Passover commemorated their passage out of Egypt, and their deliverance from its slavery, and so was a type. Jesus Christ at His Resurrection passed from death to life, and by this passage triumphed over the powers of hell, rescued us from their tyranny and from eternal death, and opened a passage for us to eternal life. At that time Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed with a white robe; and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here, behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, that He goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see Him, as He told you. (Mark xvi 1-7)

    To celebrate this festival with due dispositions, we ought with joy and gratitude to adore Jesus Christ in His immortal state, and to rise with Him, by entering as He did upon a new life, so as never more to die by relapsing into sin, and to persevere in the practice of virtue and good works. We may know if we have entered on this new life –if we are at peace with God; if we love whatever leads to Him, such as prayer, reading good books, hearing the word of God, and assisting devoutly at Mass and other devotions. As we hope, too, that at the Last Day our bodies will rise and partake of the privileges of our Lord’s glorious body, so we should respect our bodies, resist evil passions, and not use the members of our body for sinful purposes, but for the practice of good works.

    We, Lord, with faithful heart and cheerful voice,

    On this Thy glorious rising day rejoice:

    O Thou ! Whose conq’ring power o’ercame the grave,

    By Thy victorious grace us, sinners, save.

     

    Example ~ Lamoricière

    Lamoricière’s name stands prominently in the military history of France in the nineteenth century. His early intercourse with certain students of the Polytechnic School, and his almost constant engagement in warfare, dimmed for a time the lustre of the lofty Catholic principles instilled into him by a pious father. It is true he never lost the faith, but the smoke of the battle-field sometimes concealed it from his view. A period of forced rest, in which he could count no longer on outward victories, turned his thoughts to interior conquest, and thus he left an example of spiritual bravery which, while it excites our admiration, stimulates us to imitation. One day an old colleague and friend visited him and found him bent over maps, in which he was noting with anxiety the movements of the armies in the Crimea. To keep down the curled corners of the map he had employed the books which were the usual companions of his leisure hours a Catechism, his Prayer Book, the Imitation, and some other pious book. The visitor could not conceal his surprise at the sight of the four silent witnesses of the General s occupation. ‘Well, yes, said Lamoricière, that is my occupation. I do not wish to remain like you between day and night. I like to know where I go and by what I hold; and I make no secret of it.

     At an age when few seek to modify their long formed character and habits, he laboured diligently to soften and tone the asperities of his impetuous nature. Every day he became more patient, more indulgent to adversaries, and calmer under the many little annoyances with which this life is strewn. For instance, he was told that one of his best horses had broken its knees: some years before, the same matter had been made the signal for a storm, and the coachman trembled to think of what was coming; but to his astonishment the General was not even impatient. In his camplife he had learned a somewhat free and dictatorial mode of speaking, and was much addicted to swearing; but these faults entirely disappeared. When his son died he felt it very much, and what added to his grief was the fact that he could not be present. My God! he exclaimed, You send us bitter trials in this world ; I beseech You to be merciful to us in the next. Although not unexpected, Lamoricière’s death was rather sudden. He died on his knees with the crucifix pressed to his breast, and received absolution while still conscious. It would be well for the world to have many more such lives to record.

Saint for the Day

  • March 31

    St. Benjamin, Deacon, Martyr

     

                    Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, put a stop to the cruel persecutions against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II, and the Church had enjoyed twelve years’ peace in that kingdom, when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian bishop who burned down the Pyraeum, or Temple of Fire, the great divinity of the Persians.  King Isdergerdes thereupon demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the Church, which continued forty years with great fury.  Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421.  But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity.  The very recital of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror.  Amongst the glorious champions of Christ, was St. Benjamin, a deacon.  The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned.  He had lain a year in the dungeon, when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his release on condition he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.  The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the Gospel, declared that he should miss no opportunity of announcing Christ, The King, being informed that he still preached the faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended, caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh, both of his hands and feet, and to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence.  Lastly, a knotty stake was thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired in the year 424.

     

    Reflection—We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and His love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to Him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that He infuse into us the grace of Christ, that it may enlighten our souls that we may love Him.

     

    Taken from the “Pictorial Lives of the Saints: with Reflections for Everyday in the year

  • Angel at the Tomb of Jesus Matthew 28:1-3
    No longer are there tears in our eyes; no longer are heard wailings of grief, but hymns of the greatest joy. Our Lord is risen. Jesus, the good God, is risen glorious and triumphant from the tomb. Let us rejoice! Let those tremble and despair who are His enemies! The Jews bragged of the success of their execrable work; but their triumph is short. They did not see that all this happened to Our Lord, because He desired it so. They triumphed for a while, when they had shut up His body in the tomb, but Christ, full of life and immortal, now passes through the stone vault and is truly risen. He is indeed risen and endowed with greater beauty; clothed in light, like that of the sun; the crown of thorns is changed into a beautiful diadem, the wounds into signs of victory; the blasphemies of the Jews into the exultation of the angels; His sorrowful death into a most happy life. O day of happiness for the whole earth! “This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us exult and rejoice therein.” What fruit shall we draw from this feast? It is this: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead to die no more; so also when we rise from our death of sin, we should die no more, but continue in the life of grace.It is a fact that many rise from the sleep of death during these days of the paschal joy; because the Church has made an express law that every Catholic must go to confession and communion at Easter. Therefore many, obedient to the law, confess, bewail their sins and promise to remain faithful to the graces of a new life. Many, however, are not steadfast; a few days have scarcely passed before they forget, and by sin fall back again into death. Have such really risen? It appeared as if they had, but if they had been really converted they would certainly not have fallen back into sin so easily and in so short a time.I should like to believe that all you, my dear young friends, who have gone to confession, have really made up your minds not to fall into sin again. Just think what a terrible thing it is to be in the state of moral death; by sin you become an enemy of God and you cease to be the brother of Jesus Christ. The character of the soul is goodness; and so beautiful is it that God loves it and takes special delight in it. You are by Baptism brothers of Jesus Christ, associates of the angels, of the Blessed Virgin and the saints in heaven. It is worth your while, then, my dear young people, to preserve with the greatest care the purity which you have again acquired by the use of the sacraments. Unhappy beings, if you become bad again, you are throwing away your last chance of salvation; it is very hard to rise from the state of sin to life; the devil will make every effort to hold on to you; he will redouble his watchfulness, will strengthen his net about you, will double the chains that already bind you. He will send his servants to you, who will surround you in such a manner that nothing good can come near you. He will make the life of a sinner seem most delightful, so that in your blindness you would not change it if you could. That is the great difficulty–that we are our own obstacles. We would not love God if we could, we would not serve Him if we could–such are the machinations of the devil to keep you in his service. So you see it is not as easy as you think to return to God. Without grace we can do nothing, and we cannot run to Him and stay away from Him at will. When God has seen you unfaithful to Him several times, after having been saved by His mercy, He will no longer give you those extraordinary graces which brought you out of your evil ways heretofore; now He will let you go, He will abandon you as a thoroughly worthless subject.

    From these considerations you can gather that it is most important for us to be in the state of grace, for on it our salvation depends. It is also very essential never to think lightly of the state of grace, not to let it go and come as we often do in the Sacrament of Penance; we return again and again to confession accusing ourselves of the same sins, and thus we continue until the day of our death. When once we have risen as Christ has risen, to die no more, we also must begin a new life. If in the past we have been so fond of the world that we thought of nothing else, now in our new life we must live with Jesus Christ; we will renounce the world to flee from those unlawful pleasures, to lead a celestial life, to be in heaven rather than upon this earth. “If you have risen with Christ, relish the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Do not run after the pleasures of this world with such a relish; look for the joys of heaven, pray to God, use the sacraments frequently, and hear the word of God; then this new life will also be a resurrection for you, a glorious day; and will foreshadow the day on which you will be crowned with the crown of perseverance.