O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Lover Has Come to His Garden, Gloriously Magnified

Holy Saturday - I Class Feria
Missa...wait a minute...

1st Lesson: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-2 [The story of creation.]
2nd Lesson: Ex. 14:24-31; 15:1 [The parting of the Red Sea.]
3rd Lesson: Is. 4:2-6 [The Lord will protect us after purifying us in Baptism.]
4th Lesson: Deut. 31:22-30 [The people of God will be gathered and taught His laws and they must obey them.]
Epistle: Col. 3:1-4 ["If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above."]
Gospel: Mt. 28:1-7 [Matthew's Ressurection]
Full Latin-English propers here.

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis: Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi nomen quod est super omne nomen. "Christ became for us obedient unto death, even death on a cross: And for this God has exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every other name." That is what we have been saying in the Divine Office at every hour during the Triduum. Each day we have said more and more, until saying the full antiphon today. We have been making progress to that exaltation. Tonight, on this holiest of nights, we see that exaltation.

We started sad. We heard Our Blessed Lord say in Gethsemane, Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem. "My soul is sad unto death." He wanted to bitter chalice of suffering to pass because of the weakness of the humanity He took upon Himself at the Incarnation. He made the sacrifice of obedience. Sometimes obedience is the greatest sacrifice we can make, accepting suffering we don't have the strength to bear, just because we love the person for whom we are suffering so we are willing to bear any suffering for their sake and so that we might be with them. This is how Christ loves us. This is what He has done for us. As God, His Divinity strengthened His Humanity such that He could feel far greater pain than any of us ever could. He made Himself obedient unto the worst suffering for our good, that we might be with Him and not with sin. Christ bore the greatest suffering, the greatest mockery, the greatest physical pain, the greatest emotional pain. He humbled Himself in suffering more than anyone else ever could. His Divinity is what enabled Him to humble Himself so much with so much suffering.

For this God has exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every other name. There is no joy without suffering. There is no victory without fighting. There is no exaltation without humility. God only exalts those who endure suffering. If you don't endure suffering, you have not merited any exaltation. Christ suffered for us because His love for us gave Him the strength to suffer so much. His love for us pushed Him to suffer for us, that we might be purified of our sins, abandon them, be cleansed of them, never return to them, and be with Him alone. Tonight we see that new life. Tonight we see the risen Christ. The Resurrection is a preview of what will happen to us if we stay faithful to Him. By Rising, Christ promises to raise us in the same way on the condition that we stay faithful to Him and reject sin entirely. Tonight we see the life that God offers us. All we need to do is decide to reject the world and to be with God alone.

Christ has His victory tonight. Tonight He gains that new life, where He alone is King and sin has no place and does not exist. Love pushed Him to suffer to get to new life with us. Tonight He gets that new life. Tonight He gets that life He hoped for so much. He wants to spend it with us. He loves us. We are His Bride. He wants to be with us. He wants us to share that perfect life that He alone, as God, has the power to give. That life of joy, where there is no sin, only the infinite joy He alone is capable of giving. All we have to do is reject the world and accept Him instead; not together with the world, but instead of the world. That rejection of the world in favor of Him is our suffering. The joy He offers us is far greater than any suffering. The Lover has come down to His garden. He comes down gloriously magnified, as we hear in the Gradual after the 2nd Lesson, about the Crossing of the Red Sea. Let us go be with Him. Tonight we see Our Nymphios (Bridegroom, i.e. Ecce Homo) in glory. Our Lover has come to His garden, gloriously magnified. Let us be with Our Divine Lover and reject the world entirely.