Tag Archives: Easter

Faith and joy in the Resurrection

The Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday fills us with faith and joy. In this meditation we consider:

  • The sadness and sorrow of Christ’s disciples after his death on the Cross
  • The various accounts in the Gospels of Christ’s appearances after his Resurrection
  • The faith and joy of the holy women and the apostles when they see Christ risen from the dead
  • We too go through crosses in life and can draw strength from them, knowing that God allows them for our greater good and that we will have a resurrection to eternal life

On the road to Emmaus

In the afternoon of the Resurrection, two discouraged disciples of Jesus left Jerusalem for the nearby town of Emmaus. Christ met them on the way and engaged them in conversation, showing them from the Scriptures how the Messiah was meant to suffer and die. When they reached Emmaus the discipes begged Jesus to stay with them and when they recognised him in the breaking of the bread they returned to Jerusalem. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ is always there for us when we are going through hard times.
  • We should beg Jesus to stay with us and we should keep him close always, especially when we are experiencing difficulties.
  • Like the disciples did with Jesus, we should open our hearts to the one who guides us in our spiritual life
  • Our hearts, like those of the disciples, will burn within us when we encounter our Lord in prayer, the Scriptures and the sacraments.
  • Our Lord sends us out, as he did the apostles, to announce to others the good news of his love for mankind.

Lessons from the Cross

Jesus’ passion and death give us many lessons.  In this meditation we use texts from St Thomas Aquinas and St Josemaria Escriva to consider some of the many virtues Christ teaches us from the Cross:

  • Charity and patience
  • Humility and obedience
  • Detachment and fortitude
  • Joy

 

 

Lent, a springtime in the spiritual life

 

 

 

To prepare for his public life, Our Lord spent forty days in prayer and fasting. This is the origin of the forty days of Lent in preparation for Easter, to be spent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In this meditation we consider how:

  • After forty days in the desert Christ rejected the temptations of Satan, showing us how we too can reject temptations to sin.
  • The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Lencten”, meaning “springtime”, and if we live Lent well we will have a springtime of new life in our soul.
  • To live Lent well we should strive to do something specific in the traditional areas of prayer, fasting  and almsgiving.

The joy of the Resurrection

The Gospels relate the joy of the disciples and the holy women when they saw Our Lord after his Resurrection. That joy can be ours too when we discover Our Lord in the ordinary circumstances of our life and we come to love him. In this meditation we use passages from the Scriptures, from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be glad” and from St Josemaria Escriva to discover how to find the joy we all seek. We consider how:

  • Christ wants everyone to be happy
  • We will be happy when we find Christ and come to love him
  • We can be joyful even in the midst of sickness, worries and misfortunes
  • Cheerfulness is attractive and draws others to God

Christ our Light

Resurrection of Christ

Christ’s resurrection on the first Easter Sunday

At a time of much spiritual darkness and evil in the world, the light of the risen Christ at Easter brings light and hope to all. In this meditation we consider:

  • Christ’s resurrection and appearance to Mary Magdalene
  • The risen Christ has overcome the world
  • We have received the light at Baptism but can lose it through sin
  • We should return to the light through confession and help others to do so
  • We should keep our light burning and make it grow ever more brightly
  • We should share our light with many others

Meditation “The light of Easter”

The resurrection of Christ brings light into a world in darkness. In this meditation we consider how we can respond to this gift of God in three ways:

  • Accepting the light
  • Keeping the light alive and making it grow
  • Sharing the light with others

Meditation on the lessons of Holy Week

Holy Week should be holy not only in its name and in the events we commemorate, but in the way we live it. In this meditation we consider the numerous lessons we can learn from this week and how we can put them into practice. We will consider:

  • Palm Sunday – praising God by our life
  • Holy Thursday – frequenting the sacrament of Penance
  • Washing of the feet – spirit of service
  • Institution of the Eucharist – love for the Eucharist and prayer for priests
  • Prayer in the garden – spirit of prayer
  • Passion and death – spirit of penance
  • Jesus gives us his mother – love for Mary
  • Resurrection – joy and hope

Alleluia

Now that we are in the Easter season and saying “Alleluia” very often, many people wonder what this word actually means. Here is an answer from one of my columns in Catholic newspapers. It is question 268 in my book Question Time 2. 

The word “Alleluia”, sometimes spelled “Halleluia” or “Halleluja”, means essentially “Praise the Lord” or “Hail the one who is”. It is made up of the Hebrew verb for praise (“Allelu”) and the proper name of God, “the One who is” (“ia”), as in the name Yahweh. The latter recalls the answer God gave when Moses asked him for his name: “I am who I am”, Yahweh (Ex 3:14). The word “ia” is thus not the generic name for God, but the specific name for the God who revealed himself to the Israelites as “I am”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments on the name of God: “In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (‘I AM HE WHO IS’, or ‘I AM WHO I AM’), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery… God, who reveals his name as ‘I AM’, reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them” (CCC 206-207).

The expression “Alleluia”, incorporating this specific divine name, is found in the Old Testament in several places. For example, in the Book of Tobias we read: “The gates of Jerusalem will sing hymns of joy, and all her houses will cry, ‘Hallelujah! Blessed be the God of Israel!’ and the blessed will bless the holy name forever and ever” (Tob 13:17). The English translation used here renders “ia” as “the God of Israel”. And it is clear that “Hallelujah” is a cry of praise, of great rejoicing, of blessing God’s holy name.

The expression appears again at the beginning and end of Psalm 113, or in other versions of the Bible such as the Vulgate or Septuagint, at the beginning of Psalm 114. At the end of that psalm we find: “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” (Ps 113:9) Again, the expression “Praise the Lord”, or “Halleluja”, comes at a time of particular rejoicing, when a barren woman has conceived a child. The expression “Praise the Lord” comes as the last verse of the so-called “Hallel” psalms, or psalms of praise: Psalms 113-118. It also occurs frequently in Psalms 146-150 at the end of the psalter.

In the New Testament, “Hallelujah” occurs only in the Book of Revelation, in the description of the praise given to God in the heavenly liturgy. For example, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgments are true and just…’” (Rev 19:1-2). The expression comes several more times in the same chapter, including: “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready…’” (Rev 19:6-7).

As we see in these texts, “Alleluia” or “Hallelujah” is always used as a hymn of praise of almighty God in the context of worship and great rejoicing. It was used in the Hebrew liturgy and it was incorporated untranslated into the very earliest Christian liturgical texts. For Christians, especially at Easter time, the word takes on the added meaning of a hymn of praise to God for the glorious Resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ. “Alleluia” is thus our supreme expression of rejoicing, praise and thanksgiving. We should unite our hearts and minds with our lips when we pronounce this word, lifting up our hearts in exultant praise of God.

St Augustine sums it up: “So now, my brethren, I urge you to praise God: this is what we all say to one another when we say Alleluia. ‘Praise the Lord,’ you say to the one you are addressing, and he says the same to you; and by urging one another in this way, people do what they are urging the other to do. Praise God with the whole of yourselves; it is not only your tongue and your voice that should praise him, but your conscience your life, your deeds” (On Psalm 148, 1-2).