Saturday, May 5, 2012

Meditation on the First Glorious Mystery - The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

Today, May 5, is the First Saturday of the month.  As I have reported in other posts, the First Saturday of the month has great significance to Catholics.  When Our Lady appeared to the three children of Fatima in 1917, she made a request for special devotions on the First Saturday of the month:

It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
I have been making it a practice to post my meditation on the Rosary here. I have posted about the fourth Sorrowful Mystery - the Carrying of the Cross,  and the first Sorrowful Mystery - Jesus' Agony in the Garden.  Today, since we are now in the Easter season, my post is about the first Glorious Mystery - the Resurrection of our Lord.

When Christ died on that first Good Friday, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he was dead.  There was barely an ounce of blood left in his body, he was beaten to such a bloody pulp that he was hardly recognizable as a human being.  There was no part of his body that was not wounded.  His tormentors had pushed a crown of thorns into his head so that parts of his brain were even showing.  As a final wounding, even after he had died, one of the Roman soldiers thrust a sword into his heart, from which blood and water poured forth.  When Jesus was finally taken down from the Cross and placed in his Loving but Sorrowful Mother's arms, there was no mistaking that he was dead.  When the few remaining disciples placed Jesus' body in the tomb, they knew they were leaving a lifeless body.  Our Lord was gone.

So after a series of events early Sunday morning following the crucifixion, including the appearance of the angel telling the women Jesus had risen, and Mary Magdalene actually meeting the risen Lord, the disciples were still incredulous.  How could our Lord be alive when he had been so brutally murdered?  But when they saw the wounds in his hands, feet and side, they knew it was true.  The impossible had happened.  Our Lord had conquered death.  Christ had become the victor over man's greatest enemy - sin and death - and through Jesus, we are all victorious.  As I Corinthians 15:5 says:  "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"

Now Christ's statement in Matthew 10:28 - "And fear not them that kill the body, and cannot kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell" has real meaning for us.  We need no longer be afraid of physical death, because it has no power over us.  Christ has conquered death for us.  We are now able to comprehend Jesus' statement recorded in John 11:25 - "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live."  We know that, though our body will die, we will still live through Jesus Christ.  We can spend eternity with the One who created us and conquered the sin and death that threatens to destroy us.  Now that Our Lord has rendered death meaningless, there is nothing left for us to fear.  Almost.

Despite Christ's great defeat over death, there is one enemy that can still rob us of Christ's victory. Christ has conquered death, he has opened the doors to eternal life in heaven with the Trinity, and all the angels and saints.  But that last obstacle standing between us and the eternal reward which Christ offers to us is none other than ourselves.  Satan is standing close by trying to snatch it away, but the only power he has over us is what we give him.  The decision is now completely up to us.  We can either say yes to Jesus and to life, or we can say yes to Satan and to death.  No one can make that decision for us.  Will we rise with Christ, or will we fall with Satan? 

By rising from the dead, Christ said we are no longer victims.  He has given us the means to overcome death and sin.  No one will go to heaven or hell by accident.  We will each choose our own eternity. 

Here it is wise to look to our Blessed Mother.  We are in the same position that she was when she was asked by the angel to consent to become the Mother of God.  Christ has risen from the dead and now asks us to become his brothers and sisters in eternal life.  Just as it was up to Mary to say yes or no, it is up to each of us as to how we will answer our Saviour.  That is the meaning of the resurrection.  Christ told us that wide is the way that leads to destruction, and narrow is the path that leads to life.  Which will we choose? 


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