The winter snows melt and spring flowers blossom and emanate their beautiful fragrance. The sharp thorns fade and the pink glowing rose sprouts and adorns the colorful meadow. An ugly caterpillar passes through the transformation of a beautiful gliding monarch butterfly. The dark stormy sky fades and out bursts forth an awesome rainbow. Coal being black, hard, dirty, pressurized transforms into a precious diamond, of the best quality. All of these are mere natural analogies of the greatest of all events: the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
A hardened sinner moved by grace, renouncing his sin, reforming his life, falling in love with the Person of Jesus the Lord becomes a great saint! The Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, Augustine, Ignatius, Camillus de Lellis--- all of these are crystal clear examples of the power of grace to transform the worst of sinners into the greatest of saints! This is only possible through the power of grace communicated through the Paschal mystery--- the Passion death and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Reality of the Resurrection! Jesus indeed died, but He rose from the dead on the third day. He rose never to die again. The reality of the Resurrection has a huge impact on the whole of humanity and on each and every one of us in particular.
THE GRACES THAT FLOW FROM THE RESURRECTION…..
1. LIFE IN ABUNDANCE. Death is not the last word, but beyond the grave there is life and life in abundance. The atheist, or agnostic live a life of hopeless despair. Not the believer--- Eternal life, life to the fullest awaits the true followers of Christ.
2. HOPE! Despite all of the trials, afflictions, tribulations, contradictions in life, the belief in Jesus’ Risen life fills us with hope!
3. HEAVEN. The reason for an abounding hope is the firm belief in heaven that is right around the corner. Jesus promised heaven to all believers and doers of His word. “I go now to prepare a place for you so that where I am you might also be. In my Fathers’ home there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would not tell you so…”
4. JOY. St. Ignatius, in the Spiritual Exercises of the fourth week, brings us into contact with the Risen Jesus and Ignatius insists that we beg not only for joy, but for the most intense joy. Joy is a powerful motivation to carry out great apostolic endeavors for the Lord!
5. FAMILY REUNION! The Risen Lord promises His faithful followers heaven and that means that we will be reunited with our loved ones and the saints who have preceded us. It will be an endless banquet of the best of friends meeting and enjoying each other’s company for all eternity!
6. SUFFERING! Human nature recoils from suffering! However, in the light of the Risen Lord, suffering not only has meaning but eternal value. However, suffering has value only inasmuch as it is united to the suffering, passion death and Resurrection of Jesus. Suffering either makes one better or bitter! If united to Christ’s suffering our suffering purifies, humbles, exalts, sanctifies and prepares us for eternal glory. As Christians we must follow Christ, the whole way, from Good Friday, the hill of Calvary to the glory of the Risen Lord! Jesus revealed to St. Faustina that the angels experience a holy envy for the human person and for two reasons: we can receive Holy Communion and we can suffer--- meaning we can reap abundant fruit by uniting our suffering with the sufferings of Jesus!
7. SHORTNESS OF LIFE/DURATION OF ETERNAL LIFE. The impact of the Lord’s Resurrection manifests how ephemeral, transitory and fleeting is the human condition and how permanent and lasting is Heaven and the life with the Risen Lord. Even the greatest and longest sufferings cannot be compared to ETERNAL LIFE IN THE LORD! St. Paul expresses this beautifully: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
8. SELF-CONTROL. Life in the light of the Risen Lord challenges us to live a life of sobriety, self-restraint and self-control. Why? Our bodies are destined to be united with the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints. Therefore, we must live according to our dignity, our destiny, and our definition as persons--- Temples of the Holy Trinity by baptism and grace!
9. EUCHARIST/BREAD OF LIFE (Jn. 6 Bread of Life discourse). Never can we separate the meaning of the Risen Lord Jesus from the reality of Jesus truly and substantially present in every Holy Mass, in every Consecration and in every Holy Communion, remembering Jesus’ promise of heaven related to Holy Communion, the Bread of life! Listen and meditate upon Jesus’ sublime and awesome words and promise: “I am the Bread of Life, whoever eats my body and drinks my blood, will have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day…” (Jn. 6:22-71)
10. MARY AND THE RISEN JESUS. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through her prayers and intercession illuminates the Mystery of Easter! Crestfallen, crushed, overwhelmed by sorrow, forlorn and despairing— all serve to express the interior attitude of the Apostles and disciples of Jesus when confronted with the reality of the Crucifixion on that first good Friday! In other words, their hopes in Jesus were totally shattered! In spite of all of this, there was one who did not give into despair: it was the Blessed Virgin Mary. Beyond doubt, hers was the suffering incomparable to any others—save that of Jesus the Lord. However, hope reigned supreme in the sorrowful, Immaculate, but trusting Heart of Mary. For this reason, St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises, when entering into the 4th week—the week of the Resurrection, first has Jesus appearing to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary, the Mother of the Risen Lord, was indeed the first to contemplate the Risen Lord Jesus!
Therefore, in our contemplation of the mystery of the Risen Lord Jesus, we must lift up our eyes to Mary and beg her for the grace to penetrate with greater depth the reality of this supreme and sublime mystery. In the Easter Season we pray this prayer to Mary: The Regina caeli prayer: Queen of heaven rejoice, because the Lord has truly risen from the dead. Rejoice. “This is the day the Lord, has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!!!