Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia!

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Bl. Fra Angelico, the Resurrection of Christ

Gospel of Easter Sunday

Mark 16:1-7
At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought 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; ye 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.

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The foot of Saint Mary Magdalene, the first to step into the tomb of the Risen Christ – at San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini, Roma

Notice how she who made reparation to Our Lord for the horrible tortures and death  that was to come by anointing His Sacred Head and bathing His Feet in tears, was to be the first to step into the Sacred Tomb and see that the Lord had Risen, as He said! Alleluia!

Be consoled by this contemplation; this is the Christian life, the Paschal mystery. Let the joy of this Easter season spur you on to a greater love of Christ, Risen with His Holy Wounds, resplendent in their Glory, signs of His Infinite Love for you! Remember the prayers and sacrifices you have made during this holy season of Lent, do not tarry to go and see that Our Lord has Risen. Do not tarry in the resolutions you have made: “I would rather die, than commit one sin!”

Jesus, Risen from the dead, resplendent in Glory, I love you!

Holy Saturday

…St. Augustine says, “Let us stand in wonder, rejoice, be glad, love, praise, and adore since it is by the death of our Redeemer, that we have been called from death to life, from exile to our own land, from mourning to joy.”

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Fourteenth Station by Martin von Feuerstein

For the increase of our faith, our hope and our charity:

With regard to faith the Psalm says (Ps. cxl. 10), I am alone until I pass from this world, that is, to the Father. When I shall have passed to the Father, then shall I be multiplied. Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground and die, itself remaineth alone (John xii. 24).

As to the increase of hope St. Paul writes, He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things? (Rom. viii. 32). God cannot deny us this, for to give us all things is less than to give His own Son to death for us. St. Bernard says, “Who is not carried away to hope and confidence in prayer, when he looks on the crucifix and sees how Our Lord hangs there, the head bent as though to kiss, the arms outstretched in an embrace, the hands pierced to give, the side opened to love, the feet nailed to remain with us.”

Come, my dove, in the clefts of the rock (Cant. ii. 14). It is in the wounds of Christ the Church builds its nest and waits, for it is in the Passion of Our Lord that she places her hope of salvation, and thereby trusts to be protected from the craft of the falcon, that is, of the devil.

With regard to the increase of charity, Holy Scripture says, At noon he burneth the earth (Ecclus. xliii. 3), that is to say, in the fervour of His Passion He burns up all mankind with His love. So St. Bernard says, “The chalice thou didst drink, O good Jesus, maketh thee lovable above all things.” The work of our redemption easily, brushing aside all hindrances, calls out in return the whole of our love. This it is which more gently draws out our devotion, builds it up more straightly, guards it more closely, and fires it with greater ardour.*

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Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino – Naples, Italy

Remain by our Lord whose Body lies in the Sepulchre today. Resolve to return to Him the whole of your love. To look on the Crucifix, is to believe, to hope, and to love. Only languid souls are unaffected and unmoved to order their lives to the love of Christ. We wish to rise and reign with Christ in Heaven, He who sits at the right hand of the Father in Glory. In truth and in humility, we must, in this life, accompany our Lord in His Passion, look at our Lord as He hangs on the Cross, wait with our Lord at the tomb, and faithfully believe in His Glorious Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven!

*Parts taken from St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Meditations on Lent”

The cry of Christ

Today we walk with our Lord in His Passion. We watch, we try to remain close, we are sorrowful for the innumerable times we have strayed by our sins.

At the Holy Scourging, as Christ’s sacred Flesh is torn, He moans and groans, in the intimacy of his Heart He cries your name, and mine.

And so on the Cross, as He struggles to breathe, as He looks up to the Father, hear Him cry your name and hear Him say “I love you,” from the depth of His Heart about to be pierced. Remain there as He gives up His last breath. Tell Him you love Him. Promise to sin no more.

Altar Cross at the Cathedral of Omaha

Lamentations of Jeremiah sung by a former seminarian friend of mine and his family. We entered the FSSP together.

Good Friday

“And they came to a place called Golgotha, that is, the Place of the Skull. And they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; but when He had tasted it, He would not drink” (Mt. 27:34). “Then they crucified Him.” (Mk. 15: 24)

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Crucifixion by Guido Reni, 1619, Rome

The object behind the offering of the stupefying draught for those sentenced to undergo crucifixion was that it would produce a partial unconsciousness, so that the terrible agonies might not be so keenly felt. But it will be noted that our Lord would not accept anything that would lessen His sufferings. He did taste it so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, for David had said of the Messias, in prophecy: “And they gave Me gall for My food; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink” (Ps. 68:22). Scripture thus fulfilled, our Lord refused to do more than taste of it, since He did not seek to lessen in any way the bitterness of the cup which His Father had given Him to drink.

There is an important lesson for all of us in this incident in the Passion of our Lord and that lesson is that we are more Christlike when we accept the crosses and trials of this life as they come to us, seeing in them golden opportunities for making reparation for our own sins and the sins of the world, and at the same time, seeing all such crosses as sent to us by God for our spiritual benefit. As Christians we are not bound to seek suffering, but when it comes in the path of duty, let us meet it calmly, resolutely, and fearlessly.

“Then they crucified Him.” (Mk. 15:24) To the devout Christian every item of information he can gain concerning that dread scene at Calvary is of the utmost value. The horrible act of crucifixion itself was foreign to the Jewish people, for it was of Roman origin, and the sufferings it caused signifies the extreme anguish to which human sensibility can go. It was long and lingering in its operation. Apart from the agony inflicted by the nailing of the hands and feet, even greater suffering was inflicted by the constrained posture on the Cross. And there hung the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, suspended between Heaven and earth for three long and agony-filled hours until the full debt for your sins and mine was paid. What a terrible thing sin must be, that its expiation required such a sacrifice! The hearts of all who dwell on the picture of Christ dying on the Cross must of necessity be stirred to beg for the grace to avoid ever committing a deliberate mortal sin again. How can we ever in the future be careless about sinning when we contemplate what our Lord suffered to save us from our sins! And what can we say of the wonderful love God must have for sinful man to cause Him to give His Son to endure such a death to save him!

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Make time today to go, in spirit, to Calvary’s hill and take your place beside the sinless Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ, and beside the sinner Mary Magdalen. Your own selfish sinful heart will know what to say to Christ as He hangs on the Cross. Tell Him of how you thank Him for what He has done for you and beg of Him the special grace to know the vileness and tragedy of sin.

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by Blessed Fra Angelico

The price has been paid. Christ died on the Cross. But men, forgetting the awful ransom paid by our Lord, go right on sinning. Hear our Lord say to Mother Marie Saint-Cecile of Rome: “I understand human frailty. I forgive readily, I forget indelicacies as soon as the soul returns to Me, but that does not prevent My Heart from feeling the wound.”

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Promise our Lord today that never again will you wound His Sacred heart by sin. Make the slogan of St. Dominic Savio your motto: “Death rather than mortal sin.”

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Maundy Thursday 

“And [they] led Him away to crucify Him. Now as they went out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon; him they forced to take up His Cross.” (Mt. 27: 31-32)

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In the beginning there was no one to help our Lord carry His cross. Weak from the loss of sleep and from the cruel scourging and the crowning with thorns, and still more from the insults of His enemies and the desertion of His friends, which caused Him untold anguish, yet He was forced to carry the heavy Cross. He did His very best until His nature gave way and thus He fell several times to the ground.

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Jesus Falls – by Adolf Lachman

We must never lose sight of the fact that while our Lord had to carry the Cross unaided, in reality it was not for Himself that He bore it, but for you and me. He endured unbelievable pain and endured the shame and the insults, for all of us, that He might free us from the burden of the curse of sin.

When St. John the Baptist encountered Christ at the outset of His public life, he said to his followers: “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29) We must say the same words as we contemplate Christ Carrying His cross, for that is exactly what He did. No, it was not only the wood of the Cross that was so burdensome, rather it was the mountain of our sins. It was the loathsome weight of sin that caused our Savior to falter and fall on the Way of the Cross.

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Altar of Saint John the Baptist – Cathedral of St. Paul – St. Paul, MN – St. John the Baptist is raising his hand to point to Our Lord and say “Ecce, Agnus Dei.” In the Cathedral, the statue is oriented to where St. John is raising his hand to point to Our Blessed Lord in the Tabernacle

Fearful that they would be deprived of the satisfaction of crucifying Him, the soldiers compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, to help our Lord. One can only imagine how much, at first, Simon must have resented this task, but picture Simon and Christ carrying the Cross together – Jesus in front carrying the heavier part and Simon coming behind with its lighter end is both sad and a consoling thought.

This is a true picture of every follower of Christ. We must all share the cross with Christ if we would reign with Him. Did our Lord not say; “He who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me?” (Mt. 10:38)

There is great consolation in reversing the scene wherein Simon helps Jesus carry His Cross and contemplating it in a new light – that of Christ helping Simon carry the Cross. You see, once Simon was pressed into service by the soldiers, our Lord did not abandon him and leave him to struggle with the load alone. Indeed not. Christ, weak as He was, placed His bruised and torn shoulder under the heavier part.

Every cross we have to bear will find Christ’s shoulder beneath it, and, indeed, beneath the heavy end of it. There is no cross we are unable to bear with Jesus helping us. No load He shares will ever crush us, for we have His infallible word: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

Make acts of contrition for your sins that added to the weight of the Cross on the way to Calvary; thank Him for having taken away your sins; and thank Him for having always helped you carry your crosses thus far in life.

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Christ refused that potion that His sufferings might not be lessened. But Christ gives us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity as our food to strengthen us to bear our sufferings and to carry our crosses. In the Eucharist, the Stronger helps the weaker.

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The Apostles receiving Holy Communion – Bl. Fra Angelico – San Marco, Florence

Wednesday in Holy Week


There is one more phase in Pilate’s weak struggle with his conscience and his sense of right. He thought that if he could have our Lord scourged somehow the mob would relent and settle for His release. So the scourging was initiated and carried out by Roman legionaries – brutalized instruments of a race noted for its absence of all tenderness. “Pilate, then, took Jesus and had Him scourged,” (Jn. 19:1) but St. Matthew was more reportorial, for he wrote:  

“Then the soldiers of the procurator took Jesus into the praetorium, and gathered together about Him the whole cohort. And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet cloak; and plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand; and bending knee before Him they mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat on Him, and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head.” (Mt. 27: 27-30)


The Romans used various kinds of scourges. There was the stick (fustis), the rod (virga), and the whip (lorum) which was of leather-platted throngs and into the plats were woven iron spikes (scorpio) or knuckle bones of animals. Tradition has it that the latter was used by the soldiers to scourge Christ.

Behold your Savior bound to a low pillar with the six scourgers standing on a raised platform beside and above Him, and watch them, if you can, laying those cruel lashes on the bent back of our Lord! Let us go to His side and gaze into the pure eyes of Christ as He suffers in the scourging and acknowledge that it was our sins – yours and mine – that caused Him to endure such agony, and promise Him from this day on we shall never deliberately offend Him again.


There is another consideration I would have you ponder over in your mind. It concerns the reed placed in our Lord’s hand during the crowning with thorns as a mock gesture of a king’s scepter. Is it not worthy of note that the lowly reed should play such an important part in our Lord’s life? He began His public life by going to Cana of Galilee, to begin as it were the reconstruction and redemption of mankind with a man and his wife – since it was a man and his wife who had opened the sluice gates of sin and flooded this world with woe.  

“Cana,” you see, means “a place of reed.”


And now at the end of His public life the reed appears again and is placed in His hands in mockery of His royalty, and finally, it becomes an instrument of torture in itself – since the soldiers beat His thorn-crowned head with this same reed. I have always thought that the special sufferings inflicted on our Lord by the blows from the reed were in reparation for the mockery men and women make of marriage and the sins, such as divorce, abortion, desertion, and birth control committed by persons disdainful of God’s laws. Married persons will beg for the grace to fulfill the duty of their state and the unmarried will beg special graces for those to whom God has entrusted such awful responsibilities.

The Way of the Cross

God always gives me reminders of the innumerable graces He has shed upon me. I pray that I am humble enough to heed to these.
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I was praying the Stations of the Cross before the midday Mass today. There were a few other people in the Church. There was a young boy, maybe 4 years old, who has down syndrome. He was sitting with his mother in the pew. I was at the fourth station, and all of a sudden he came out of his pew and genuflected. He was just a few feet away and he was looking at me so I gave him a little smile. He then proceeded to kneel down. He was saying some prayers; I heard our Lord’s Name. He kept watching me, so I continued to pray. I would stand up, go to the next Station, then with a few seconds delay, he would stand up, genuflect with me and then kneel down. He stayed at each Station, remaining one or two Stations behind me. He even remained at the Station where he was, when I went to the other side of the Church. And then eventually he made his way over. He was determined to pray at each Station. I finished before him and he remained at the 12th Station, Jesus’ death on the Cross. I was no longer there for him to follow me, so he remained. Eventually his mother came up to him and finished the last three Stations with him. He gave me a little example today, one with great significance. With the purity of his heart and his intentions, he showed a great love to Christ even if only out of emulation of my actions. How muddled are my intentions, my judgments, my love of God and of my neighbor.
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Let us this week, and every day forward, remain at the Foot of the Cross. It is here that Christ redeemed us by the cost of His Most Precious Blood. Why is it so difficult for us to even spend a few moments adoring Love Crucified each day? It is here that we must die to ourselves, so that we can rise in the joy of the Resurrection.
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I’ll continue to pray with this memory and the one I shared recently here concerning the Cross above.