Paschaltide 2008: March 2008 Archives


Pope Benedict XVI Calls the Face of Christ the Supreme Revelation of the Mercy of God

The Holy Father's message at the Regina Caeli today, presents the Vultus Christi, the Face of Christ, as the Face of Mercy. Here is my translation of the Italian text:

Dear brothers and sisters,

During the Jubilee of the Year 2000, the beloved Servant of God John Paul II established that in the whole Church the Sunday After Easter, besides being the Sunday In Albis, should also be named the Sunday of Divine Mercy. This he did in concomitance with the canonization of Faustina Kowalska, the humble Polish Sister, and zealous messenger of the Merciful Jesus, who was born in 1905 and died in 1938.

Mercy is, in reality, the central nucleus of the Gospel message, and the very name of God, the face with which He revealed Himself in the Old Covenant, and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creating and redeeming Love. This merciful love also illumines the face of the Church, and manifests itself by means of the sacraments, in particular that of Reconciliation, and also by the works of charity, both communitarian and individual.

All that the Church says and does manifests the mercy that God nurtures for man. When the Church must recall a truth that is misunderstood, or a good that has been betrayed, she is compelled to do so by merciful love, so that men may have life, and have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). From Divine Mercy, which pacifies hearts, springs authentic peace in the world, peace among peoples, and among different cultures and religions.

Like Sister Faustina, John Paul II made himself, in his turn, the apostle of Divine Mercy. The evening of that unforgettable Saturday, April 2nd, 2005, when he closed his eyes upon this world, was really the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, and many notice the singular coincidence, that brought together in itself the Marian dimension — the First Saturday of the month — and the dimension of Divine Mercy.

In fact, his long and multiform pontificate has herein its central nucleus: all his mission in the service of the truth concerning God and man and peace in the world, is summed up in this proclamation, as he himself said it in Cracow in 2002, when he inaugurated the great Shrine of Divine Mercy. "Apart from the mercy of God, there is no other source of hope for human beings."

His message then, like that of Saint Faustina, leads back to the Face of Christ, the supreme revelation of the Mercy of God. Constantly to contemplate that Face: this is the heritage which he left us, and which we, with joy, receive and make our own.

Pope Benedict XVI
Divine Mercy Sunday
March 30, 2008

In Laetitia

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Saturday of Pascha

The Lord brought forth His people with joy, alleluia:
and His chosen ones with gladness, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Give glory to the lord, and call upon His name:
declare His deeds among the gentiles (Ps 104:43, 1).

One Who Comes to Meet Us

Some of you may be wondering why I chose, during this Easter Octave, to preach each day on the Introit of the Mass. The simple answer is this: one of you asked me to do it. A Sister suggested that it would be a good thing if I meditated on the Introit texts with you. And so I did. But there is another reason. Listen to what Father Maurice Zundel says:

“The Introit greets us at the entrance of the Mass. It is like a triumphal arch at the head of a Roman road, a porch through which we approach the Mystery, a hand outstretched to a crying child, a beloved companion in the sorrow of exile. The Liturgy is not a formula. It is One who comes to meet us.” (The Splendour of the Liturgy)

Toward the Heavenly Sanctuary

The Church gives us eight Introits for the Octave of Easter: one for each day. Each one is a mystic portal opening onto a particular facet of the Mystery and pointing us toward the heavenly sanctuary where, beyond the veil, Christ the Priest stands in glory before the Father.

In Spe, Alleluia

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Friday of Pascha

“The Lord led forth his people in hope, alleluia:
and the sea overwhelmed their enemies,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia” (Ps 77: 53).

The Day Which the Lord Hath Made

We have arrived at the sixth day of the One Day that is Pascha, “the day which the Lord hath made” (Ps 117:24). We are also at the sixth in a series of eight magnificent Introits. Each of these expresses and, at the same time, impresses on the soul, a particular aspect of the Pasch of the Lord made present and communicated to us in the sacraments. In today’s Introit the Church sings, “The Lord led forth his people in hope, alleluia: and the sea overwhelmed their enemies, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia” (Ps 77:53).

What the Lord Did

The wonders of the Exodus fulfilled in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord, and renewed for us in the sacraments, are God’s doing, not ours. Recall the very last line of Psalm 21, the mysterious prophecy of the Passion and Resurrection intoned by Jesus from the Cross: “Generations to come shall speak of the Lord, and declare his righteousness to a people yet to be born: This is what the Lord did” (Ps 21:31) — Haec fecit Dominus.

Brought Out in Hope

Whereas the Hebrew Psalter reads, “He brought them out safely” (Ps 77:53), the Septuagint and the Vulgate, the Psalter used by the Church, has for today’s Introit, “He brought them out in hope.” Saint Albert the Great says that, “hope is the chariot whereon God brings His elect to Himself.” Nothing carries the soul forward as much as the exercise of the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope is not about hoping for this or that thing. It is not about saying, “I hope for good weather tomorrow,” or “I hope that I have enough milk for tea this afternoon.”

Sapientia aperuit os mutum

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Thursday of Pascha

Your victorious hand, O Lord,
have they magnified, with one accord, alleluia:
for wisdom has opened the mouth of the dumb,
and made the tongues of infants vocal with praise,
alleuia, alleluia (Wis 10:21-22).

Praise of Wisdom

Today’s Introit, the fifth of eight given us by the Church during this week of glory, is drawn from the 10th chapter of the book of Wisdom. The passage that is sung in the Introit is best understood by placing it in its context: a praise of the wonders wrought by Holy Wisdom during the Exodus.

“She . . . led them out on their miraculous journey, affording them shelter by day and starry radiance by night. She made a passage for them through the Red Sea, brought them safely through those leagues of water, and churned up the bodies of their drowned enemy from those unfathomed depths. So, enriched by the spoils of the godless, they extolled, O Lord, thy holy name, proclaimed with one voice thy sovereign power; Wisdom opened the dumb mouths, and made the lips of infants vocal with praise” (Wis 10:17-21).

The Mysteries of Initiation

Who is Holy Wisdom? As we know from the Great O Antiphon of December 17th, Wisdom, Sapientia, designates none other than Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father. The Church confesses that Christ led out the catechumens on their miraculous journey into the font of Holy Baptism, and out of the font to the altar of His Sacrifice. The neophytes are characterized, above all, by the praise of Christ that comes to flower on their lips in the celebration of the Eucharist.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory