…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.”
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.*
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”