“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SUNDAY, April 4th Jn. 20: 1-9 “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.”
The Resurrection and Mary…
San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert Christian (+ 2019) and Rector of the Seminary:
“The reason for giving special tribute to our Blessed Mother on Saturdays is one we have meditated on especially during the seasons of Lent and Easter. On Holy Saturday, when Jesus lay in the tomb, with His apostles gripped by fear, Mary alone maintained faith in her Son. It is said that the Church’s unfailing faith was found only in Mary during the time of the Crucifixion and Jesus’ burial. It was a tenacious clinging to what her Son had revealed, a clinging made steadfast by virtue of the fullness of grace that she enjoyed.”
Mary’s faith, therefore, is a perfect exemplar of the belief of the entire Church. In fact, her faith is an instantiation of the belief of the Church throughout the centuries.
JESUS IS RISEN, ALLELUIA! By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
GRACE TO BEG FOR: Beg for the grace of INTENSE AND OVERFLOWING JOY—because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and He wishes to share with us freedom from sin that gives us Peace, Joy, and Eternal Life in Heaven.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118:24) Alleluia!!! The celebration of Easter is the Solemnity of all Solemnities in the Church Liturgical Year, the most sublime and glorious of all Feast-days, the day that gives true meaning to all human existence. It is a day of immense and over-flowing joy.
HISTORICAL REALITY. The rock-foundation of Christianity is that of Easter Day and all that flows from it. Every Sunday, after the Readings and the homily, all stand to profess our faith, the Creed, in which we pray with firm hope and faith: “Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead…” After the Consecration in Holy Mass, we acclaim: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Jesus died on Good Friday and was buried, but on the third day He rose from the dead! This gives total and complete meaning to our short human existence on earth. Saint Paul expresses it succinctly: “If Jesus is not risen from the dead, then our faith is in vain. Let us eat, drink and be merry.” (1Cor 15:14, 32) In other words, life has no real meaning aside from the historical reality of the Resurrection—that Jesus really and truly rose from the dead on the third day as He promised.
CATHOLIC TRADITION: JESUS FIRST APPEARS TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
For countless years, the Church has always maintained that the first to experience the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection was the Blessed Virgin Mary. In fact, in the midst of the darkness of Jesus’ death and burial, on Holy Saturday Our Lady was the only light shining in the darkness. Even Jesus’ best friends were scandalized, confused, and uncertain about the future. Not true with the Blessed Virgin Mary! She alone had faith! No one suffered more than Mary, aside from Jesus Himself, such that Mary is given as one of her titles, Queen of Martyrs; at the same time, no one experienced more joy than Our Lady at the Resurrection of Jesus. Her heart was pierced with the lance on Good Friday, but her heart exploded with the joy of Jesus truly risen from the dead on Easter Sunday!
FRUIT OR GRACE TO BEG FOR. With the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the depth of our heart and with great and intense fervor we want to beg for a very special grace as we celebrate Jesus who truly rose from the dead—the grace of JOY, AN OVERFLOWING JOY that reaches to the ends of the earth, in time and in eternity! Actually, in the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius insists that we beg for this grace, beg for the fruit of JOY, but even more, an intense and overflowing JOY! It is because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and will never die again, and He wishes to share with us freedom from sin, and peace, joy, and eternal life in heaven! This is the reason for this intense and overflowing joy!
BIBLICAL PASSAGES AND JOY. The Bible, the Word of God, offers us countless passages and reasons why we should be overflowing with joy. Just a few verses:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil 4:4)
“My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Lk 1: 46-47) (From Mary’s Magnificat)
“The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (Jn 20:20)
CONTEMPLATION OF JESUS APPEARING TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
BEG FOR THE GRACE. Let us now beg for the grace to imagine and contemplate that first early Easter morning and Jesus’s first Apparition which was to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us beg most fervently that we will attain, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a most intense joy, a joy that will overflow into our relations with others! Our joy is not meant to be kept to ourselves but to be shared with the whole world.
1. THE FAITH OF MARY. Though the others fell into confusion, sadness, and even doubt, Our Lady never doubted for an instant that Jesus would rise from the dead. Even in the midst of her most intense sorrow at the foot of the cross and at the tomb, there was always hope burning in the depths of her heart. So it should be with us. In the midst of our sorrows, there should always be at least a glimmer of hope because we believe in the purpose and meaning of the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus rising from the dead! Talk to Mary and beg her for a deep, dynamic, and vibrant faith and hope in the Risen Lord Jesus!
2. IMAGINE MARY DEEPLY ABSORBED IN PRAYER AND HOPEFUL WAITING. Our Lady is deeply absorbed in prayer, in contemplation, and in expectant waiting for the coming and appearance of Jesus. Unite your prayer with the prayer of Mary. Accompany Mary in these moments preceding the Apparition of the Risen Lord Jesus. Contemplate the poise, the dignity, the humility, the purity, the nobility of Mary, the Mother of the Risen Lord. Join your Heart with Mary’s Heart and pray with her as she awaits the coming of the Risen Jesus.
3. THE SUN RISES AS JESUS THE SUN OF GOD APPEARS TO MARY. As the first streaks of the morning sun beam through the windows, Jesus appears to Mary. Strive to contemplate His appearance and the overflowing joy of Mary. As the sun rises so does Jesus the Sun of God rise and appear to Mary, also known as the Morning Star. Saint Ignatius highlights that one of the chief actions of the Risen Lord Jesus is that He comes to console. Now contemplate Jesus consoling Mary, the Sorrowful Mother who is now overflowing with joy as she contemplates her Risen Son. Be present with Mary and derive great fruits of Joy at this Glorious Easter reunion!
4. TEARS OF JOY. Contemplate the beautiful countenance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and your Mother too. Her intense sorrow is transformed into superabundant joy. Jesus told the Apostles that no one would be able to take their joy from them. Contemplate Mary as tears well up in her eyes and flow down her cheeks. These are tears of consolation; these are tears of joy! Mary turns and looks at you with great love as you share this moment with her. Now talk to Mary and share with her all that you are: your joys and sorrows, your failures and successes, your fears and doubts, your plans and projects, your dreams, your past, your present, and your future. Mary is never too busy to listen to you, to speak with you and advise you, to console you, to bring you closer to Jesus, the Risen Lord.
5. SHALOM!!! The word of greeting traditionally was SHALOM—which means Peace be with you! You can imagine with what great love this word issues from the mouth and Heart of Jesus—Shalom, peace be with you! Jesus is the Prince of Peace and Mary, the Queen of Peace.
6. HIS WOUNDS. Jesus shows Mary His wounds—in His hands, His feet, and His open side revealing His Sacred Heart. This was the Heart that Mary, His Mother, formed within her most pure womb for nine months. Mary heard the Sacred Heart of Jesus beating within her inmost being. With Mary, you are invited to contemplate these wounds of Jesus. These wounds, caused by the hammer blows in His hands and feet, and the lance piercing His side and Sacred Heart, are clear signs of Jesus’ infinite love for all of humanity and His love for you and me. Both the Prophet Isaiah and Saint Peter refer to the wounds of Jesus: “He was wounded for our offenses… like a lamb led to the slaughter He opened not His mouth… and by His wounds we are healed.” (Is. 53: 5, 7) Have no fears nor inhibitions; bring your wounds to Mary and to Jesus. Beg both Jesus and Mary to heal your wounds. Either we will be wounded wounders or we will be wounded healers. Let us bring our wounds to Jesus and Mary so that we will be wounded healers in the midst of a wounded and broken world.
7. REDEEMER AND CO-REDEMPTRIX. Jesus is the Redeemer of all of humanity. His Incarnation, life, suffering and death on the cross, and Resurrection were precisely for this purpose: to save as many souls as want to be saved. That being said, Jesus purposely chose Mary, His Mother to collaborate with Him in the redemption of the world. Contemplate your Redeemer, now risen in Glory bearing the wounds of our Redemption and next to Him is Mary, the Co-Redemptrix. Beg both Jesus and Mary for the grace of your own salvation, and to work with them for the salvation of a multitude of souls. Pray for the grace to love what Jesus and Mary love most in the whole created universe—the conversion and salvation of souls!
8. LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO THEIR CONVERSATION. Imagine now that you are seated at table next to Jesus and Mary. What do you think the risen Lord and His mother are talking about? Imagine the love between them. What might Jesus say to His mother? What might Mary say to her Son? Imagine their conversation. Listen to the tone of their voices. Contemplate their faces. Behold the two best communicators the world has ever known! Enter into their hearts. Draw close to them as your Best Friends.
9. WHAT ABOUT YOU? The Risen Lord Jesus looks kindly and attentively at His Mother, whose eyes are overflowing with joy, and now they both turn to you and ask you to open up your heart to them. These are three questions they might ask you and you can respond to them now. Never forget, they are the best of listeners. 1) Do you love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul? If not, would you like to? 2) Jesus and Mary look at you with love, and comment: “We both suffered much for the salvation of souls, as this was the will of the Heavenly Father. Tell us about your sufferings… 3) Tell us what is most heavy on your heart right now… “Come to us all you who are weary and heavy of heart and we will give you rest. We are meek and humble of heart. You will find rest for your soul… our yoke is easy and our burden is light.” Contemplate the Risen Lord Jesus and Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, and your Mother—talk to them in your own words. Fear nothing! Speak to them with trust and confidence!
10. JESUS’ MESSAGE TO MARY AND TO US. In a relatively short time, Jesus will ascend to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. He will not leave the Apostles nor the nascent Church alone as orphans. He promises that He will be with us until the end of time. He promises to send the Paraclete—the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, the Sweet Guest of our soul. However, Mary will also have an essential role in the Church. Among the many titles of Mary are the following in her relationship to the Church: Mother of the Church; First disciple of Christ; Queen of the Apostles; Mother of Consolation; Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! We can imagine Jesus talking to Mary and encouraging her in her role as Mother, as Consoler, as Teacher, as Contemplative, as anchor of hope for the early nascent Church. As you listen to the words of comfort, light, and instruction that Jesus gives to His Mother, beg both Jesus and Mary to enlighten you as to how you can be a source of light, energy, and strength to build up the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
Beg for the fruit of this most-consoling contemplation of the Risen Lord Jesus appearing to Mary the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and your Mother. The fruit of this contemplation is that of JOY! Not simply joy, rather a most intense joy! Never forget that true joy can only be attained in an authentic relationship of Friendship with Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, and the angels and the saints. A joy that no one can take from us! Saint Paul warmly exhorts us: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice in the Lord!” (Phil 4:4) Mary teaches us: “My soul rejoices in God my savior.”
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA