Category Archives: Easter, Ascension & Pentecost

Ascension

AscensionThe poetic text of Jesu, Nostra Redemptio sets the stage for articulating our Christian journey following the path set out by Our Lord in following Him. This text is truly an Ascension Thursday text. This journey of faith in following Jesus is a central aspect of our Christian faith that bespeaks of our desire to live in hope. The great Mother of our Savior and the apostles in the image recognize the accent of truth that is in the Divine Person of Jesus.

Ascension Thursday has a sadness to it, as the disciples part with Christ’s bodily presence among them even with the promise that the Great Comforter will be sent. It sounds strange to say “sadness” viz. the joy of the resurrection. As one theologian-friend said of the liturgical texts of the Byzantine Church, the Ascension has its “deepest theology of the feast in its Kontakion (…You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, not being parted from those who love You, but remaining with them and crying: “I am with you and no one will be against you!”). And yet, “parting is such sweet sorrow!”

Christians have an extended journey of conversion to make each year with Lent and then Eastertide, a time more intensely filled with anticipation and longing for the Divine Presence. Eastertide is not a spiritual time of standing back from spiritual work after Lent is over, but these 50 days are a new and intense phase of the Christian journey. One just has to think of the scriptures we heard proclaimed at Mass and the Divine Office during Easter. Nonetheless, the following text of Jesus our redemption sheds light and hope.

Jesu, nostra redemptio,
Amor et desiderium,
Deus Creator omnium,
Homo in fine temporum.

O Jesus, our redemption,
our love, and our desire,
God, Creator of all things,
become Man in the fullness of time.

Quae te vicit clementia,
Ut ferres nostra crimina,
Crudelem mortem patiens,,
Ut nos a morte tolleres!

What tender love, what pity
compelled Thee to bear our crimes,
to suffer a cruel death
that we, from death, might be saved?

Inferni claustra penetrans,
Tuos captivos redimens,
Victor triumpho nobili
Ad dextram Patris residens:

Into death’s dark cloister didst Thou descend,
and from it captives free didst bring;
Thy triumph won, Thou didst take Thy place,
Thou, the Victor, at the Father’s right.

Ipse te cogat pietas,
Ut mala nostra superes,
Parcendo, et voti compotes
Nos tuo vultu saties.

‘Twas a tender love, a costly compassion
that pressed Thee our sorrows to bear;
granting pardon, Thou didst raise us up
to fill us full with the splendour of Thy face.

Tu esto nostrum gaudium,
Qui es futurus praemium:
Sit nostra in te gloria
Per cuncta semper saecula.

Thou art already the joy of all our days,
Thou Who in eternity will be our prize;
let all our glory be in Thee,
forever, and always, and in the age to come.

The English text is translated by Fr Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB.

Christ conquered evil

We believe that in assuming the weight of evil, Christ conquered evil. That he conquered sin and death. That he grafted onto the rot of suffering the power of the redemption and the light of hope. That is what he shares with everyone… to all those who suffer, from moral or physical evil, he never ceases to offer this graft of redemption, which comes from his cross and resurrection.

It is difficult to measure the evil which is our lot on this earth. It is a mystery greater than man, deeper than his heart. Gethsemane and Calvary speak of it, and at the same time bear witness that in the history of man, in his heart, another mystery is at work, that of the Redemption, which will work to the end to uproot evil. And in this mystery, a “new heaven and a new earth” are ripening, where… “God himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.”

Saint John Paul II

50 days of savoring the Easter Presence

Easter 2014 CL PosterHere is this year’s Easter Poster from Communion and Liberation, the concrete place in the Church where I adhere to Christ.

I wonder were I will savor the Presence of Christ in the 50 days of Easter.

 

Mutual prayers.

 

 

Easter Monday: newness of life

Christ in GloryEaster Monday brings with it a new emphasis changing the old into new: old leaven is out, and new leaven brought in; new gifts recognized and offered to the Lord for the work of building up the Church. “Clear out the old  yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough.” (I Corinthians 5:7) Easter Monday is the second day of a new beginning.

At Easter we sing this verse:  “This is the day The Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice.”  As people baptized into the Resurrection we can say: “You and I are the people the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice.”

Easter manifests God’s love that is more powerful than death. It’s a liberation: Easter means death no longer enslaves us. Our early Christians saw the light of Jesus Christ bursting forth from the tomb, a light that shatters of death’s bond.

The Resurrection from the dead is God’s great gift of salvation given to us. One theologian writes that the “Resurrection, God ratifies, sums up, and valorizes his material creation. Therefore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is not just about him. It’s about all those who will participate in his Mystical Body, the Church, and it’s about all of matter. In raising Jesus bodily from the dead, the Father is raising all of matter to new life.”

The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead speaks to us as been given a New Creation radically changing the sin of Adam into a new heaven and a new earth, a new body: we are living creatures living within the life of God. In Christ Jesus we are human beings with an alive, flourishing humanity. Christians believe that heaven is not just a spiritual space that our souls go following death. It’s first a new creation on earth with the doors of heaven opened unto new life with the Holy Trinity.

What is the relation the Holy Spirit to the Church

Pentecost Ingeborg Psalte.jpg

Post Pentecost some of our study and prayer ought to work on what it means to live by the Holy Spirit and how does the Church relate to the Spirit. We need to be serious about the Holy Spirit and not leave such questions to the dust bin or the happy-clappy Christians who claim to be slain in the Spirit alone. Sometimes I get the sense that we Catholics go to extremes when it comes to Holy Spirit: either we pay no attention to the Spirit or we ascribe to much to the Spirit. We even forget that the Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity: the Bible reveals the Holy Spirit to be God.


There is nothing to fear in coming to understand the what and who the Holy Spirit is for the Catholic.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church (797) teaches:


What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members. The Holy Spirit makes the Church the temple of the living God:


Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the “Gift of God” has been entrusted. In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent go God. For where the Church is, there also is God’s Spirit; where God’s Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace. (Saint Irenaeus)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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