Message of the Glorious Mysteries – The Resurrection

“If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are,” according to Saint Paul “of all men most miserable. But now Christ has risen from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20). The Resurrection is a postulate of God’s justice and love. Jesus glorified the Father in His life and Passion, now the Father glorifies Him; Jesus humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death upon a cross, and therefore the Father has exalted Him and has given Him the name which is above all names, so that in the name of Jesus, the knees of all must bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. The same principle holds, with due proportion, also for us. If we suffer with Christ, we shall be glorified with Him, and if we die with Christ, we shall rise with Him. The mystery of the Resurrection ushers in our Saviour’s glorified life; it is a life of inspiration, power, strength and victory.

Jesus has died on the cross and the soldier has pierced His side with a lance, so that there can be no doubt as to His real death. To forestall any attempt on the part of the disciples to steal the body of Jesus, the tomb is sealed and a guard of soldiers is placed in front of it. These soldiers keep watch in front of the tomb the whole Sabbath and the following night. No disciples have come into sight; all has been quiet and peaceful. But as the morning of the first day of the week begins to dawn, the scene suddenly changes. An earthquake shakes the city, an angel, resplendent with heavenly light, rolls back the stone from the tomb; it is an empty tomb — Jesus is there no longer. The guards are hurled to the ground terror-stricken; as soon as they recover, they hasten to the city as fast as they can to bring the news to the authorities at Jerusalem. The report comes to those men like lightning and thunder from a clear sky; consternation is written in their faces. There can be no denial of the fact reported by the guards, and so they have recourse to an expedient to extricate themselves from this embarrassing situation and to prevent a popular change of attitude in favour of Jesus. They bribe the guards, charging them to spread the news that whilst they were asleep, the disciples had come and stolen the body. Poor, deluded Pharisees, who childishly think they can stop the triumphant march of the risen Christ by so silly a lie.

Let us now look at the figure of our risen Saviour. He is all light and splendour; He moves about with speed of light, neither walls nor door nor locks can stop Him. The wounds and disfigurement of His body have given way to immortal beauty and vigour; but in His hands and feet and in His sacred side He keeps the marks of the nails and the lance. They will forever be the sparkling gems blazing forth the truth that, as we were saved through the cross, so through the cross we must attain to light and glory.

Jesus who had loved His own who were in the world even unto death, does not forget them in His glory; He hastens to bring to them the joyful news of His Resurrection. Though not mentioned by the sacred writers, it must be taken for granted that Jesus appeared first of all to His holy Mother; we could not imagine anything else. (Saint Ambrose knew of it and preached it.) What a meeting this must have been of Mother and Son on that Easter morning. Rejoice, O Mother of Christ, be glad, O Queen of heaven, for your Son is risen from the dead. As in His mortal life, so in His glory He remains her Son and she His Mother. Then followed the many apparitions of Jesus to His apostles and friends, confirming their faith and speaking to them of the Kingdom of God.

The Resurrection of Christ, and the glorified life following it, is Christ’s decisive victory. He had foretold it and referred to it as proof of His divine Sonship and authority, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19) By rising from the dead Christ has proved that He is God, His teaching true, His promises certain of fulfilment. And so His cause shall be victorious in the Church as a whole as well as in the individual soul, though in either case the way to victory leads over Calvary.

Christ’s victory is above all victory over sin, and in this victory, we must share in this life already, if we wish the glory of the Resurrection to be ours in the life to come. Baptism is the beginning of this victory, “Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized into His death? For we are buried together with Him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). In order to guarantee ultimate victory, in spite of possible falls due to human weakness, Christ has left to His Church as His most precious Easter gift the Sacrament of Penance, which He instituted on the evening of Easter Sunday, “Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” (John 20:23)

The ideal of the Christian is the new life in Christ, free from sin. For that reason also holy Mother Church insists upon confession of all mortal sins at least once a year, and upon the reception of Holy Communion during the Easter season; thus the life of grace is restored if it should have been lost, and if it has not been lost it is strengthened and more intimately conformed to the life of Christ through the power of the bread of life. This new life, according to the intensity of its fervour, shows forth even whilst on earth the immortal vigour of Christ’s glorified life. It is a life of spiritual beauty, resplendent with the light of virtue. There is promptness and determination in obeying the call of duty and the inspirations of grace, courage and confidence in the profession of the faith, a holy pride in following Christ our victorious Leader, a joyful readiness to go with Him even unto death. Hardships and privations, fear of men, threats of persecution cannot alter its course. Deep and living faith in the Resurrection is incompatible with timidity and half-heartedness in our allegiance to Christ the King, and will never compromise at the expense of truth and loyalty. “Knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. . . . . . Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dies now no more, death can no more have dominion over Him. . . . . So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus Our Lord” (Romans 6:6-11).

Our blessed Mother requests that we meditate on this mystery. She knows the conditions of the times and the growing danger to souls, the growing intensity of the Christian warfare as we approach the consummation of all things. Therefore, she wants us to be fortified with the invincible spirit of the Resurrection. The mystery of iniquity is at work, it can be overcome only by the mystery of a new, a holy life with Christ, the Victor over sin and death abiding in us, and we in Him. In His Resurrection, Jesus speaks to us as He spoke to the apostles, “Have confidence, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

– from Message of the Rosary – Joyful Mysteries, by Father Aloysius Biskupek, S.V.D.