Since we haven’t been able to sing en masse for the last year, I have been going through many of the Lent and Easter hymns myself to just bring them to memory. Jesus, in taking all of our humanity to Himself, seeks to heal our souls and unite them to God. He provides us the grace to have our memories, our thoughts, and our wills re-oriented toward the most True, Good, and Beautiful. At the Incarnation, He takes on a human body and a human soul. He takes on all of our senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing and all of our soul: remembering, thinking, willing. He experiences the emotions of the human. God takes all of this up. In suffering the gruesome effects of sin—which is death—God unites Himself perfectly to our human condition, taking upon Himself all that is ours. He, the one unable to do harm (i.e. innocent) reveals God’s tender and pure love (mercy) even when faced with the effects of sin: the brutality of the human condition and the cross and death.
“So, on the cross, His own body took the weight of our sins; we were to become dead to our sins, and live for holiness; it was His wounds that healed you” (I Peter 2:24).
“O wonder of your humble care for us! O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave You gave away Your Son! O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!” (Exsultet, Easter Proclamation).
His Resurrection bursts the gates of Hell, the domain of death, separation from what is true, good, beautiful, and one. For those reborn by water and the Holy Spirit (baptism), God unites His creation to Himself, making the baptized “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for Himself” (I Peter 2:9). He continues to disperse His Divine Life through giving His Life among us in the sacraments, which are the “sensed” ways that Jesus unites our souls (memory, thoughts, and will) to God.
The Sequence for Easter (sidebar, right), which is a special song inserted into the Mass before the Gospel on special feasts, is called the “Victimae Paschali Laudes.” It dates to around the 1100s. It mirrors the hymn of Christmas that asks the shepherds to tell us what they have seen: quid vidistis, pastores, dicite! “What have you seen, shepherds, tell us!” Now, at the Resurrection, we turn to Mary Magdelene. Tell us, O Mary, what did you see? Dic nobis, Maria, quid vidisti?
Jesus loves us. Jesus loves you. He doesn’t just tell you that and leave you with a book or a nice phrase. He took it all up to Himself and now gives you a daily bread that lasts. He, the Eternally Other, that our hearts all seek, gives us Someone to follow. Not in an easy way—look at the Cross. But in a way that is more full than anything human wisdom can come up with on its own. The faith He gives is not against the gift of reason that God gives—it fulfils it and orders us towards the event of Christ: towards receiving what has been given in reality and entering more fully into Christ in the Church. May our lives be a perpetual remembrance of the One who, living, sits at the right hand of the loving Father and who takes us up by His hand to share in the Trinity’s own delight as His Body.
Today, and every day, let us follow Christ, truly risen from the dead, ever more fully. May God the Father, out of the rich treasury of His glory, strengthen you through His Spirit with a power that reaches your innermost being. May Christ find a dwelling place, through faith, in your hearts; may your lives be rooted in love, founded on love. May you and all the saints be enabled to measure, in all its breadth and length and height and depth, the love of Christ, to know what passes human knowledge. May you be filled with all the completion God has to give. He whose power is at work in us is powerful enough, and more than powerful enough, to carry out His purpose beyond all our hopes and dreams; may He be glorified in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, to the last generation of eternity. Amen (cf. Ephesians 3:16-21).
“Man, woman, boy, girl, you, all of you, do not weep! Do not weep! There is a gaze and a heart that penetrates to your very marrow and loves you all the way to your destiny, a gaze and a heart that no one can deflect from His course, no one can render incapable of saying what He thinks and what He feels, no one can render powerless!
“Gloria Dei vivens homo.” The glory of God, the greatness of Him who makes the stars in the sky, who puts into the sea, drop by drop, all the blue that defines it, is man who lives.
“There is nothing that can suspend that immediate rush of love, of attachment, of esteem, of hope, because He became hope for each one who saw Him, who heard Him: ‘Woman, do not weep!,’ who heard Jesus say this: ‘Woman, do not weep!’
There is nothing that can block the certainty of a destiny that is mysterious and good!
“We are together, saying to each other, ‘You—I have never seen you, I don’t know who you are: Do not weep!’ Because weeping is your destiny, it seems to be your unavoidable destiny: ‘Man, do not weep!’
“’Gloria Dei vivens homo.’ The glory of God—the glory for whom He holds up the world, the universe—is man who lives, every man who lives: the man who lives, the woman who weeps, the woman who smiles, the child, the woman who dies a mother.
“’Gloria Dei vivens homo.’ We want this and nothing but this, that the glory of God be manifested to all the world and touch all the spheres of earth: the leaves, all the leaves of the flowers and all the hearts of men.”
~Fr. Luigi Giussani