Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday of the Second Week After Easter

℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia.

℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.

℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands?—Such was the exclamation of the Prophet Zacharias, who lived five hundred years before the Birth of our Emmanuel: and we are almost forced to use it, now that we behold the Wounds that shine so brightly in the glorified Body of our Risen Lord. His hands and feet bear the mark of the Nails, and his side that of the Spear; the Wounds are as visible and as deep as when he was first taken down from the Cross. Put in thy finger hither, said Jesus, holding out his wounded hands to Thomas; put thy hand into my Side!

We assisted at this wonderful interview on Sunday last;—the incredulity of the Disciple was made an occasion for the most incontestable proof of the Resurrection: but it also taught us that when our Lord arose from the Tomb, he retained in his glorified Flesh the stigmata of his Passion. Consequently, he will retain them forever, inasmuch as no change have further place in his Person. What he was the moment after his Resurrection, that will he be for all eternity. But we are not to suppose that these sacred stigmata, which tell of his humiliation on Calvary, are in the slightest degree a lessening of his glory. He retains them because he wishes to do so; and he wishes it because these Wounds, far from attesting defeat or weakness, proclaim his irresistible power and triumph. He has conquered Death; the Wounds received in the combat are the record of his victory. He will enter heaven on the day of his Ascension, and the rays of light which beam from his Wounds will dazzle the eyes of even the Angels. In like manner, as the Holy Fathers tell us, his Martyrs, who have imitated him in vanquishing Death, will also shine with special brightness in those parts of their bodies where they were tortured.

And is not our Risen Jesus to exercise, from his throne in heaven, that sublime Mediatorship for which he assumed our Human Nature? is he not to be ever disarming the anger of his Father justly irritated by our sins? is he not to make perpetual intercession for us, and obtain for mankind the graces necessary for salvation? Divine Justice must be satisfied; and what would become of poor sinners, were it not that the Man-God, by showing the precious Wounds on his Body, stays the thunderbolts of heaven, and makes mercy preponderate over judgment? O sacred Wounds! the handiwork of our sins, and now our protection! we shed bitter tears when we first beheld you on Calvary; but we now adore you as the five glories of our Emmanuel! Hail most precious Wounds! our hope and our defense!

And yet, the day will come when these sacred Stigmata, which are now the object of the Angels’ admiration, will be again shown to mankind, and many will look upon them with fear; for as the Prophet says: They shall look upon Him, whom they have pierced. These men, who, during life, heeded neither the Sufferings of the Passion, nor the Joys of the Resurrection, but rather despised and insulted them, will have treasured up for themselves the most terrible vengeance—for could it be that a God could be crucified, and rise again, and both to no purpose? We can understand how sinners will say, on that last day: Fall upon us, ye mountains! and ye hills, cover us!—“hide us from the sight of these Wounds, which now dart upon us the lightnings of angry justice!”

O sacred Wounds of our Risen Jesus! be a source of mercy and joy, on that dread day, to all them that spent the Easters of their earthly pilgrimage in rising to a holy life! Happy the Disciples, who were privileged to gaze upon you during these forty days! and happy we, if we venerate and love you!—Let us here borrow the devout words of St. Bernard: “Where can I that am weak find security and rest, but in the Wounds of Jesus? The greater is his power to save, the surer am I in my dwelling there. The world howls at me, the body weighs me down, the devil sets snares to take me; but I fall not, for I am on the firm Rock. I have sinned a grievous sin; my conscience will throw me into trouble, but not into despair, for I will remember the Wounds of my Lord. yes, he was wounded for our iniquties! What I have not of mine own, I take to myself from the Heart of my Jesus, for it is overflowing with mercy. Neither are there wanting outlets, through which it may flow:—they have pierced his Hands and Feet, and, with a spear, they have opened his Side, enabling me, through these chinks, to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the hardest stone, that is, to taste and see how sweet is the Lord. He thought thoughts of peace, and I knew it not, for who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? But the Nail that wounded is the key that opened to me to see the design of the Lord. I looked through the aperture, and what saw I? The Nail and Wound both told me that truly God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The Iron pierced his soul, and reached even to his Heart; so that henceforth he cannot but know how to compassionate with me in my infirmities. The secret of his Heart is revealed by the Wounds of his Body; the great mystery of mercy is revealed—the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us. What, O Lord, could more clearly show me, than do thy Wounds, that thou art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy?

Let us express our Paschal joy today in the words of a charming Sequence of the eleventh century. We have taken it from a Missal of the Abbey of Murbach.

Sequence

Carmen suo dilecto
Ecclesia Christi canat,
Ob quam patrem matremque deserens,
Deus nostra
Se vestiit natura,
Et synagogam respuit.

Let the Church of Christ sing a canticle to her Beloved, who, out of love for her, left father and mother, and, God as he is, clad himself with our Nature, and cast off the Synagogue.

Christe,
Tuo sacro latere
Sacramenta manarunt illius;
Tui ligni adminiculo
Conservatur in salo sæculi.

The Sacraments of thy Church, O Christ, flowed from thy sacred Side. She safely sails through this world’s sea, on the wood of thy Cross.

Hanc adamans conjugem,
Clauderis Gazæ
Sed portas effracturus
Illius,
Hanc etiam hostibus
Eruiturus,
Es congressus
Tyranno Goliath,
Quem lapillo
Prosternis unico.

Out of tender love for this thy Spouse, thou wast shut up in Gaza; but thou didst break its gates: and, to deliver her from her enemies, thou confrontedst the tyrant Goliath, and with a single stone didst lay him low.

Ecce sub vite
Amœna, Christe,
Ludit in pace
Omnis Ecclesia tute in horto;
Resurgens, Christe,
Hortum florentis
Paradisi tuis
Obstructum
Diu, reseras,
Domine,
Rex regum.

Behold, Christ, the whole Church, under the shade of the pleasant Vine, enjoys peace, and safely lives in the garden. By thy Resurrection, O Lord, King of kings, thou openest the long-closed garden of thy flowery Paradise.

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