Saturday, April 27, 2013
Next, we see the priest wash his fingers. The priest does this to show how he wants to, and needs to, be spiritually clean so that he can offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a clean heart and mind. The Victim on our altar, Jesus the Lord, is perfectly clean and spotless. The priest takes the place of Christ at Mass, and in the same way he must be clean, for God is holy.
We also offer our own little sacrifices with the Host and the Chalice at Mass. So we, too, must be clean in our hearts and minds. When you see the priest wash his fingers at Mass, ask the fire of the Holy Ghost to burn up all that is not pleasing to God in your heart and in your mind.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The 2nd Sunday of Easter is also known as "Good Shepherd Sunday" because the Gospel for this Sunday contains the words of Christ which say, "I am the Good Shepherd."
Our Lord made St. Peter a very special kind of shepherd when He asked him to "feed his lambs and sheep" in John 21:15-17.
But all the Apostles were shepherds, as Saint Augustine says, "Peter is undeniably a shepherd, but without doubt Paul is also is a shepherd. John is a shepherd, Andrew is a shepherd, each Apostle is a shepherd. All the holy bishops are shepherds, without a shadow of a doubt.”
Even while the original Apostles were still alive, the spread of the Church made it necessary that bishops be appointed to share in the missionary work of the Apostles. Our bishops are the successors of the Apostles, and they are called shepherds as well (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2).
The qualities of a good shepherd are spelled out by the Lord Himself, our true Good Shepherd :
1. He is willing to die for the sheep.
2. He tends his sheep and goes out to those who are outside the flock.
3. He defends his sheep from the enemy.
PRAY AND SACRIFICE FOR OUR BISHOPS
The Crosier or Bishop's Staff
Symbol of a Shepherd
Thanks to the generosity of one of our community members, Canon Jean Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King is able to return to Guam for a visit.
He will be arriving Monday, April 15 at 3:45PM from Tokyo. If anyone would like to be at the airport to greet him with me, maybe with a floral lei, that would be very welcome and appreciated! You can just meet me at the airport. I'll be the one in the brown habit!
Our schedule of Masses with Canon Moreau is as follows :
MONDAY, April 15
TUESDAY, April 16
THURSDAY, April 18
FRIDAY, April 19
6PM Missa Cantata
THURSDAY, April 25
6PM Mass – Adoration – Benediction
Confessions before Mass.
After the priest offers the host, he offers the chalice filled with wine.
But before he does this, the priest mixes a little bit of plain water into the wine.
This reminds us of the time a Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus with his spear, and out flowed blood and water. The wine is red like blood, and after the Consecration, it is no longer wine but the true Blood of Jesus.
This blood and water remind us of the sacraments. The blood reminds us of Mass; the water reminds us of baptism. Both blood and water make us think of life. If we lose enough of our blood, we will die. If we don't drink water, in time we will also die. Jesus died so that we can live in heaven one day.
Think of this when you see the priest put a little water into the wine at this time of Mass.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Today’s feast is celebrated on March 25th, but since this year that day fell in Holy Week, which takes precedence; and since the following week was the Easter Octave, which again takes precedence, we had to wait till today, the first available day, to observe this feast.
We call it the Feast of the Annunciation because the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary her awesome vocation to become the Mother of God. But God needed her free “yes,” and the moment she gave it, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, became incarnate, took on flesh, was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in her virginal womb.
Just as the First Adam was formed from this earth, which was, in a sense, “virgin” soil since there was no man yet to till it, farm it nor pollute it in any way, the Second Adam also had to take His human flesh from a virginal womb, undefiled in any way.
We read in the Letter to the Hebrews (chapter 10, verse 5) : “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me.” God the Father was not perfectly pleased with the blood of bulls and goats (sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not), but He was perfectly pleased with the sacrifice of His sinless Son (but a body thou hast fitted to me). But the Son would not have had a body to sacrifice had not the Virgin Mary conceived Him in her womb. Thus, hers was also the body prepared for the Lord. Just as God created this world for the sake of Adam, and called it good, the Lord prepared a mother for the Second Adam, and she was immaculately good!
The problem all started when the first virgin, the First Eve, who as yet did not have relations with Adam, entered into conversation with the wrong person – the serpent. Today, that problem’s solution began when the second virgin, the New Eve, Mary, entered into conversation with God’s Angel.
And we see that the solution is taking place already; redemption has already started, for the unfortunate First Eve heard these words from God, “I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children…” but the New Eve, Blessed Mary, hears these words from God’s Angel, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus.” How different the two sentences! One was punishment, the other liberation!
What was it like to be a person completely free of all sin, original and personal, from the moment of one’s conception? How would their personality and character be? We don’t meet people like that; we are all born in Original Sin and suffer its effects. But how was Mary, in her customs and habits, even before she received this joyful news of her divine election?
We know from the Church Fathers how she was; how Our Lady behaved and acted from birth. We get a picture from them how a person, conceived without sin, acts in this world. These Church Fathers aren’t making things up, either. They are writing in the early centuries of the Church. The tradition about Our Lady had been passed down from mouth to ear, from one generation to the next.
In terms of her relationship with God, we can simply say that Mary was a person of deep and strong prayer. Her every waking moment was a contemplation of the divine presence. Even in her sleep, says one of the Fathers, she dreamt of divine things. She constantly read the Scriptures, which would have been the Old Testament, and she meditated on them. We can see a glimpse of this when the Gospels tell us that Mary saw and heard the things Jesus said and did, and “kept them in her heart.” She preferred to stay in the home, where she prayed and worked in the presence of God. She was never less alone than when she was physically alone, because in those contemplative hours, she was accompanied by hosts of angels in the mystical presence of the Almighty.
In terms of her virtuous life, one can simply say that the chaos of uncontrolled passions, a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve, of which we are all too familiar, had no place in her life. Free of original and personal sin, her passions were always in control under the rule of reason. She ate and slept only as necessary. She spoke only when useful, and then with all grace and pleasure. She was indeed “full of grace,” and this grace spilled over into her speech and movements. She never spoke too loud; her steps were measured and graceful. She was in complete composure, even when her heart was torn with grief at the sight of her Son’s passion, there was never anything unbecoming or undignified in her sorrow; no hysterics. She was a model of modesty and simplicity. One the Fathers mentions that, in his day, perhaps now long gone, there was preserved one of Our Lady’s veils, and it was simple, without adornment.
Concerning her relations with her fellow man, we can simply say she had perfect charity towards all. She never spoke about other people’s defects, but rather covered their shame. She was respectful and courteous to all, and treated even the humblest person in society with dignity. What little she had left over in the home, she gladly shared with the poor.
As one of the Fathers put it, we can simply say that Our Lady was a beautiful statue carved by God. But the difference between her and any of these beautiful statues here in the chapel is that these statues of wood could not say yes or no to God. But Mary had her free will, and she freely said yes to God. She allowed God to chip away and carve a masterpiece, unsurpassed in beauty. And why should Mary be so beautiful? Because God deserves only the best. So when He went about preparing a mother for the Son, He created a work of art.
Now God deserves only the best from us. We cannot give it on our own. But Mary can help us. Let us try to give our best every moment. Not an hour ago; not even ten minutes ago. Now. What are we doing now, and are we doing it as best we can. Let us ask Mary to help us to do that. She will win for us graces from her Son that will make up for what is lacking in our efforts, and bring those efforts of ours to greater fruition, all for the glory of God, the good of our neighbor and the salvation of our souls!
( We made our Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the end of Mass)
APRIL is traditionally set aside for devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.
April is almost always partly, or fully, in Eastertide. In Easter, we were set free from the Old Life, just as the Hebrews were set free from their old life in Egypt, a life of slavery and oppression. Our Old Life was a life of slavery to sin, and the wages of sin is death.
Just as the Hebrews passed safely through the waters of the Red Sea to the safety of the other side, in the waters of baptism, we have passed safely from the Old Life which leads to eternal death to the New Life which is Life Eternal in the Promised Land of Heaven.
But it's a long way between now and Heaven. Just as Israel had to pass through the desert for forty years, and needed bread from heaven (the manna) to survive, we need the Bread of Heaven to survive our years on earth, between baptism and Heaven. That Bread of Heaven is the Body and Blood of Christ.
"Unlike your fathers in the wilderness who ate and died nonetheless, he who eats this bread will live forever."
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your Eucharist!
A PRACTICAL SUGGESTION
One of the things we can do in April is make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament EVERY DAY in April. It can be on a day you plan on going to Mass. Just arrive early and be conscious of Our Lord's True Presence in the Tabernacle, and pray to the Lord waiting for you there. On other days, stop in a church or chapel and spend a few minutes in adoration and prayer. It can be even as brief as a few minutes. Better that than nothing.
Here's one prayer of adoration you can say :
I adore Thee, 0 Jesus, true God and true Man, here present in the Holy Eucharist, humbly kneeling before Thee and united in spirit with all the faithful on earth and all the blessed in heaven. In deepest gratitude for so great a blessing, I love Thee, my Jesus, with my whole heart, for Thou art all perfect and all worthy of love.
Give me grace nevermore in any way to offend Thee, and grant that I, being refreshed by Thy Eucharistic presence here on earth, may be found worthy to come to the enjoyment with Mary of Thine eternal and ever blessed presence in heaven. Amen.
And then, don't forget to pray for the sick, those far from God, for peace in the world, for those suffering for their Christian faith and any other intention that comes to mind.
"Listen: there are two things the devil is deadly afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament."
~~~Saint John Bosco
Sunday, April 7, 2013
From Easter till Pentecost, that is, during Paschaltide, we say or sing the Regina Caeli instead of the Angelus, and instead of the other Marian anthems, such as the Salve Regina.
This is the Church's Easter hymn to Mary.
This hymn goes back so far in time that we don't know exactly how it came about. The Vatican's oldest musical score for it is dated around the year 1171.
If we really understood the intimate link between Mother and Son, we would not doubt for a moment that she who "merited to bear" Him in her womb; she who brought Him into this world, cared for Him, nursed Him, protected Him, taught Him, worried over Him, wept for Him, suffered for Him - would not also be a joyful witness of His resurrection!
In the Regina Caeli, there is no talk of "this valley of tears." Not now. We are too joyful to think of that for now. Still, we haven't lost all sense, and we ask her "to pray for us," for even in joy we are mindful we are not in heaven yet.
He is risen - but as He said He would. Our Lord's suffering, death and resurrection were all His doing. He chose to undergo all that; allowed others to take His life. He laid it down, but He, too, picked it up again. The Resurrection was not a surprise to Jesus! It was all part of the plan! Our God is the God of Life.
The tomb could not hold Him for more than three days. She bore Him in her womb for nine months. More than that, she kept Him in her mind and heart day and night all her earthly life.
Now, she is Queen of Heaven, Regina Caeli. She beholds Him for all eternity in all His glory, which she, too, shares. From her throne in heaven, she is our greatest intercessor. Ora pro nobis Deum! Alleluia!
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Friday, April 5, 2013
This coming Sunday is the first Sunday after Easter and is known by several names.
First, it is called Low Sunday because it stands in contrast to last Sunday, which was the great feast of Easter, the Feast of feasts!
It is also called the Octave Day of Easter, being the 8th day since Easter.
Not primarily liturgically, by mainly popularly, meaning in the common speech of the people, this coming Sunday was also called Quasimodo Sunday, after the first word of the Introit : Quasi modo geniti infantes.
But the primary name for this coming Sunday is Dominica in Albis, or rather Dominica in Albis Depositis, meaning Sunday of the Laying Aside (depositis) of the Baptismal Robes (albis).
You can see in this painting a man, just baptized moments ago, putting on his white baptismal gown in the background, while a man is just getting baptized, kneeling in front.
These baptismal gowns were white, and the Latin word for white is albus. When the adults were baptized at the Easter Vigil, they started to wear these albs or white, baptismal gowns all week during the Octave. On this coming Sunday, they took them off and resumed regular clothing. Thus - Dominica in Albis Depositis.
This is why the Church took for its Introit this Sunday the words Quasi modo geniti infantes, which means "as newborn babies," because the newly-baptized were "born again" as infants in the family of God.
The Gospel tells us the story of the Apostle Thomas, who believed when he saw Jesus in the flesh. Jesus tells him, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed."
In this same Gospel story, the Lord gives the Apostles the power to forgive sin - the Sacrament of Confession!
We were not there to hear the Lord give this power to them. But we believe. Blessed are we, according to the Lord's own words.
In all the Seven Sacraments, faith is needed; faith in what we do not see. We do not see Original Sin depart from the baptized; nor Sanctifying Grace enter or be increased in the person receiving this or that sacrament. When a man is ordained a priest, nothing outward changes about him, but we believe that he is marked forever as a priest, and that will never leave him, even if he should leave the ministry.
Thus, one of the depictions of Low Sunday is the first picture at the top, which shows all the Seven Sacraments. All Seven require faith; to believe what we cannot see with the eyes of the body.
Especially - the Eucharist. We see bread and wine; we believe they have become the true Body and Blood of Jesus, and are no longer bread and wine.
No wonder, from Apostolic tradition, the priest inserts the phrase - MYSTERIUM FIDEI - the Mystery of Faith - during the second and last consecration, that of the wine.
After we have heard God's Word teaching us what to believe, and after we have told God that we believe, when we say the Credo, we now begin the Holy Sacrifice and Sacred Meal which Jesus commanded us to do "in memory of Him."
Just as Jesus offered bread and wine at the Last Supper, the priest, who is Jesus for us in the Mass, offers the bread and wine. These will become the true Body and true Blood of Jesus.
Our Lord offered His Body and poured out His Blood on the Cross for our salvation. We, too, offer Jesus our body and soul, our mind, our will, our love. We offer Him all our sacrifices. This is shown in the bread and wine because man makes bread and makes wine. But we take no credit for this, because man can only do that because God first of all gave us the wheat and gave us the grapes.
We make our offering to God, because everything belongs to Him for they all come from Him. By making God an offering of our lives, we give Him thanks and give Him the worship and adoration He deserves, through Jesus whose sacrifice was perfect and sinless.
Make sure when you see the priest offer the bread and wine that you tell Jesus you are also offering to God all your life; your good times and bad, your sacrifices, your good deeds, your prayers. Ask Jesus to wash away your bad deeds and sins by the blood of His sacrifice. Jesus will make you a holy sacrifice, too, if you do all things with Jesus!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
On any given Sunday, at the main Mass, the celebrant can bless the congregation with holy water. Water, as we know, is a symbol of spiritual purification. It reminds us of our baptism, where we were first cleansed of sin. That cleansing water is actually the blood of Christ poured for us, which we are about to experience once again in the Mass that follows this sprinkling rite.
This blessing is thus an excellent preparation for Mass. It reminds us of what takes place at Mass – our cleansing through the blood of Christ.
Most Sundays of the year, we call this blessing the Asperges, from the opening word of the chant that accompanies the ritual. “Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor.” “Thou wilt sprinkle me, Lord, with hyssop and I will be cleansed.”
But in Easter Time, we sing a different chant. It is called the Vidi Aquam, again from the first lines which mean “I saw water.” Let’s look at the words :
Vidi aquam egredientem de templo (I saw water coming forth from the temple). This is a vision seen by the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 47 of his book. This water started slow (ankle-deep) till it became so deep no man could cross it. These waters became the source of immense life; plant life and all kinds of fish. Plants that never die and fruits that never fail. This vision is prophetic of the abundant, eternal, spiritual life that is available to us through the blood and water that flowed from the side of Christ while He hung on the cross. His body is the true temple of God, for He Himself is God, housed in a human body.
A latere dextro : alleluia! (From the right side : Alleluia!) In Ezekiel’s vision, the water flows from the right side of the temple. The piercing of Christ’s side is something we learn from the Gospel of John, and he does not indicate whether the left or the right side, but tradition says the right side. It doesn’t matter; the Lord was pierced on one or the other side. A powerful detail : John says that the soldier “opened” the Lord’s side. Not merely pierced, stabbed, punctured – but opened. Like a door; a door that leads us to another world. In a sense, His opened heart becomes the door by which we enter into heaven. So in joy we respond : alleluia!
Et omnes ad quos pervenit aqua ista salvi facti sunt et dicent : alleluia! (And all those to whom this water came were saved and shall say : alleluia!) In Ezekiel’s vision, the flowing water made abundant life spring up wherever it went. Think of the history of the Church. Think how God took weak men and made them courageous Apostles, suffering death for Christ. Think of the martyrs, the saints, the missionaries. The Church has become a huge tree bearing much fruit, sheltering millions of souls. Alleluia!
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
At Easter and during the Octave, we add a hymn to the Mass, said or sung just before the Gospel. A hymn before the Gospel is called a sequence. The sequence for Easter is known by its Latin first lines : Victimae Paschali Laudes.
Let's have a look at the words and their meanings.
Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani (Let Christians offer up praises as a sacrifice to the Paschal victim). Christ is the victim, like the lamb at Passover in Exodus 12, whose blood saved the Hebrews from the Angel of Death. The Old Testament Passover gives way to a perfect one, the sacrifice of Jesus. But Christians must also sacrifice themselves to One who sacrificed Himself for them. Our response to the One who gave us His all is to give Him our all. Our own sacrifice for love of Him is the greatest praise we can give Him. This kind of praise is not empty; not mere words. (Matthew 15:8) This we do in the best and most perfect way in the Mass, where bread and wine, representing our self-sacrifice, are called "haec sancta sacrificia illibata," "these holy, unblemished sacrifices." In Mass, our sacrifice is united with the Sacrifice that truly counts. His sacrifice will not have its full effect on us until we return sacrifice for sacrifice. In fact, it is His sacrifice that gives us the grace to want to offer Him our lives, our works and our sufferings as our gifts to Him.
Agnus redemit oves (The lamb redeems the sheep). Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd, but what makes Him good is that He lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). Thus, our Shepherd is also a lamb, a lamb that is sacrificed so that the sheep will be defended against the wolf who comes to destroy the sheep.
Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores (The innocent Christ reconciles sinners to the Father). The Old Testament lamb of sacrifice had to be spotless, without defect. All that was merely physical purity. But, in Christ, the perfectly sinless dies for the salvation of the sinful!
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando (Death and life contended in a wondrous battle). The real battle on Good Friday was not just between a Messiah and His natural enemies. It was a cosmic battle between Good and Evil, Life and Death; between God who is all Good, and the devil who is behind the kingdom of sin and death. Who will win? Death? And man will never see salvation? Or Life?
Dux vitae mortuus regnat vivus (The Prince of Life, dead, reigns alive). And the winner is : Life! But here is the paradox. He alone can lay claim to being the Prince of Life, meaning the One able to have dominion over life itself, and the power to bestow life on whomever He wishes, precisely because He died and rose again! Both His dying and His rising were His doing alone. "I lay down my life and I take it up again." (John 10:17) No one took His life away; He gave it up of His own accord. And He took it up again. He is truly is the Lord over life itself. The one who can best say he has power over something is he who can give it up and take it back again.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via? (Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?) And now we turn to a witness. The Mary spoken of here is Mary Magdalene, not the Blessed Mother. Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb, and then Jesus Himself. She answers the question in the next line :
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis (I saw the tomb of the living Christ, and the glory of His rising). She saw a tomb, but it was empty, because the former occupant she now sees alive. But she also saw the glory of His rising, meaning, the glory of a dead man raised to life. This glory prevented her at first from recognizing Him. It is the same Lord, but something is different about Him now. It is His glorified body.
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes (The angels attest, and the napkin and clothing). Mary herself had witnesses, the angels and the burial cloths of Jesus laid aside. The body was here; here are the clothes which wrapped it. Why take the body, and not the shroud? Unless, He has risen and has no need of burial clothing anymore!
Surrexit Christus spes mea (Christ my hope has risen). Christ has risen from the dead, but we are not there yet. We still have to die, and then rise. But had Christ not done this before us, how can we expect to follow? Thus, His resurrection gives us hope. As St. Paul said, "If Christ had not risen from the dead, our faith is useless." (1 Corinthians 15:14)
Praecedet vos in Galilaeam (He goes before you to Galilee). The Apostles, with the exception of Judas, were Galileans. So after the Lord had died and risen again, they returned to their native place. It was also the homeland of Jesus, after His birth in Bethlehem in Judea. Here is where the Lord started His ministry in Israel; here He will send His Apostles to the ends of the world. He goes before us; we do not blaze trails alone. The Lord goes before us, leading the way. This verse already opens the door to the permanent, missionary call of the Church. Easter is not just for our own benefit. We are to go out to all nations and tell them the Good News.
Scimus Christum surrexisse, a mortuis vere (We know that Christ is truly risen from the dead). This is the core of the Christian message. If Christ had died and remained dead, death would have won. But Christ has won the battle, and so can we if we are united with Him. Thus, Easter has to be lived, not just believed. In fact, it is not saving faith until it is lived. We must live the new life, and die to the old. We are only united with Jesus if we do what He commands us. (Matthew 7:21)
Tu nobis victor Rex miserere (To us, victor King, have mercy). We turn now and address the Lord Himself. We turn from singing about Him, to speaking to Him, and we ask for His mercy. It is really a plea. We address Him as the King who won; would He please, in His mercy, give us the grace to win as He did?
Amen. Alleluia. "So be it." But also the cry of Easter joy - Alleluia!. The firmness of our prayer (Amen) is followed by joy that He who rose from the dead will give the grace of resurrection to those who do not abandon Him.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Baptism of a child in the Ancient Church
from the catacombs of St Callistus in Rome
When Jesus rose from the dead, He brought humanity to a new kind of life, higher than even that enjoyed by Adam and Eve before they fell in sin. This new kind of life is shown in the Lord’s glorified body after the resurrection : agile, bright, able to walk through barriers, incapable of suffering, and yet a human body which talks, walks and even eats (barbequed fish!).
These are the physical manifestations of a human soul perfectly united with God. Through His grace, we can become that. We can share in His divine glory, just as He shared in our broken humanity.
So how is this done? The beginning is baptism. Baptism is the application of Christ’s hard-won salvation, paid for by His blood, on the individual soul. “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:5) “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16) And the Lord commanded His Apostles to go out and teach and baptize the whole world (Matthew 28:19-20).
Since baptism and all the sacraments, for that matter, flow from the saving acts of Christ suffering, dying and rising again, Easter is the time par excellence for celebrating this sacrament. In the early Church, adult converts (catechumens) were baptized at the Easter Vigil and given white garments (albs, from the Latin word for “white,” albus), which they wore all week long! They came to Mass every day during the Octave, to be further grounded in the faith they just entered.
That is why the Masses during the Octave have a lot of references to baptism. It is the Church’s way of reinforcing the faith of the newly-baptized, and ours as well.
Collect from Easter Tuesday
The prayer speaks of "new offspring" of the Church. The Church has children who are born spiritually into the family of God. These are the ones baptized at Easter. They became the adopted children of God through the "sacrament which they have received by faith."
Collect from Easter Thursday
The prayer speaks of those "born again of water in baptism." But it already points us to Pentecost, which reverses the curse of Babel when humanity was further divided through the multiplication of languages so that men couldn't understand each other. The faith unites us, who are different in race and language.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Easter isn’t over starting the day after. As a matter of fact, the Church celebrates Easter all the way to Pentecost. That’s fifty days!
This period is called....
The fifty days from Easter Sunday till Pentecost Sunday are called Paschal Time, or Paschaltide. Paschal, as explained earlier, means Easter.
During Paschaltide, the Regina Caeli replaces the Angelus.
The Vidi Aquam replaces the Asperges Me.
The Paschal Candle burns in the sanctuary at Masses till Ascension Thursday.
At Benediction, an Alleluia is added to the versicle “Panem de caelo praestitisti eis” and response.
At Sunday Mass, instead of a Gradual and an Alleluia, there are two Alleluias and no Gradual.
But there’s a second way the Church celebrates Easter and that is the eight day period beginning with Easter Sunday. That period is called the Octave, from the Latin word for “eight.”
The Octave is truly an extension of Easter Sunday. During those eight days, we are, in a sense, still in Easter Sunday, though it be a Tuesday or a Friday or what have you.
To express this liturgical and spiritual reality, no other feast or commemoration is allowed during the Octave.
The Gloria and the Easter Sequence before the Gospel (Victimae Paschali Laudes) are said every day of the Octave, just as on Easter Sunday.
In the Masses of the Octave, there is a generous addition of Alleluias in the orations; at the Introit, two or three Alleluias; in the offertory verse and communion verse, one or two.
At the dismissal, a double Alleluia is added to "Ite, missa est" till the next Sunday exclusive.
We remember that the work of the Old Creation, the one damaged by Original Sin, took six days of activity followed by a day of rest - seven days total.
So the number eight represents something new. Something beyond the seven days.
This New Creation is the work of Christ. He not only repaired the damage done to the Old Creation by Original Sin; He even elevated the Old Creation to something better.
In other words, when Christ saved us by dying and rising, He didn't bring us back to the way things were before Adam and Eve sinned; He brought us to something even better which Adam and Eve didn't have before they sinned. Eternal Life!
It's like the story of the Prodigal Son. His life was better after he repented and came back to his father. Before he sinned, he was a son, which was pretty good in itself. After his return, the father clothed him in finer clothes and put on a great banquet for him. Even better.
So the eighth day represents for us "going beyond the seven," "going beyond the natural creation" and putting our first foot into the New Creation, the new order that opens up into eternity.
That is why we can never get enough of Alleluia. And why Easter doesn't end the Monday after.
In fact, the mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus happens every day. Until all will come to perfect completion at the end of this old world and the dawn of eternity.