The Joys of the Resurrection
"Jesus said unto her: Mary. She saith unto him: Rabboni; that is to say, Master." John 20:16
It was very early in the morning, while it was yet dark, that Mary Magdalen and the other women came to the garden; and they found the stone rolled away from the mouth of the sepulcher. Mary Magdalen ran and told Peter and the Disciple whom Jesus loved, saying: "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him." Peter and John ran to the garden; John outran Peter, and came first to the sepulcher, and stooping down looked in; but Peter following, came, and went into the sepulcher, and saw the linen clothes lying. Then they returned to their home; but Mary Magdalen lingered. She had no home but the sepulcher of Jesus. It was empty, but she would not go away. She stood without weeping: and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher, and saw two angels in white the one sitting at the head, and the other at the feet, where the Body of Jesus had lain. Jesus stood behind her, and said to her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? And she, turning and seeing Him, but believing that He was the gardener, saith: "They have taken my Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him. Sir, if thou hast taken Him away, tell me where I may find Him, that I may take Him away." And Jesus saith unto her: "Mary!" She saith unto Him: "Rabboni!" that is to say, Master. She had lingered out of love and compunction; she knew that she had pierced her Lord by her sins and for her sins; and she stood weeping at the sepulcher; and her lingering was rewarded. She was rewarded with the vision of angels she was rewarded with the vision of Jesus Himself.
Now, dear brethren, we have here revealed to us the law and the order of the joy and consolation of the Kingdom of God. They that suffer and sorrow most shall be the most consoled and fullest of joy in His Kingdom. He who suffered most and sorrowed most was the Man of Sorrows, who for our sakes was crucified. He said before His agony: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death." (Matt. 26:38). The deified Soul of Jesus a Soul like ours, because He was a man; a Soul unlike ours, because It was deified by union with the Godhead had a capacity for sorrow that no other human heart could ever know. As the sorrows of the Son of God Incarnate were the greatest that son of man ever tasted, so, in a measure according to the capacity of His Heart for sorrow, was the capacity of His Sacred Heart for joy. In the hour of His Resurrection, He was filled with the joy of His Kingdom, and rejoiced over His accomplished work, over the redemption of the world, over the sevenfold shedding of His Precious Blood, over the remission of our sins, over the vision of grace and the multitude of His elect who should be saved eternally. Jesus in that hour rejoiced with a heart filled with a divine joy, which we may adore, but cannot comprehend.
Next after His was the joy of His Immaculate Mother, the Mother of Seven Sorrows; and as each sorrow was sevenfold, so was her joy likewise a sevenfold joy. Though, dear brethren, we do not read it in the text of the Holy Gospels for many things are not written which Jesus did, the which if they should all be written, the world itself would not contain the books the Church has believed always, by the light and intuition of faith, that the first to whom He manifested Himself in the glory of His Resurrection was His blessed and sinless Mother, who, next to the Man of Sorrows, suffered more deeply and more sharply than any human heart. And next after the Mother of God, to whom did He show Himself in His joy? Was it to Peter, whom He had made the Rock of His imperishable Church? Was it to John, who had lain upon His bosom at supper?
It was to Mary Magdalen, out of whom He had cast seven devils, from whose soul He had washed away in the Precious Blood sins sevenfold, red as scarlet, beyond all number to her, because she had loved much, and because out of her great love she sorrowed much; and because next after the Mother of God herself her sorrows were the greatest He first showed Himself in the glory of His Resurrection. He came and stood behind her, while she was weeping at the sepulcher; and, while she did not recognize Him, He called her by her name. He called her by the name so familiar; He said unto her, "Mary!" and the accent of His well-known voice revealed to her who it was. She answered Him as she was wont to answer, "Rabboni!" that is to say, Master. And after her, next He manifested Himself to Peter the unstable, faithless friend, who had three times denied Him; and after Peter to His Disciples, faithful, fearful souls, true to Him still, though their hearts could not endure the perils of His Crucifixion.
Here, then, we have laid open to us a great law of the Kingdom of God, namely, that the joy of the Resurrection is measured out according to the sorrow of our penitence, according to the sorrow that we have endured here in the body, in the mind, and in the soul. As we have tasted of His Cross and of His desolation, so in the Kingdom of the Resurrection we shall taste of His glory and of His joy; and these forty days on which we have just entered are, as it were, the type and the shadow, and the foretaste and the beginning of this eternal joy. Those forty days, when Jesus was always near them, but not always seen always, as it were, ready to manifest Himself, and yet still hiding Himself those days in which they first knew the fullness of His Godhead, were indeed days of surpassing joy, as of Heaven upon earth; and yet not heavenly alone, but earthly too, that is, He came down to them in their sorrows and their humiliations. He did not ascend at once to the throne of His glory; but as by the Incarnation He had humbled Himself to be made man and to enter within the sphere of our sympathies, so in those forty days, when He had revealed His Godhead, He came to tarry in the midst of them, to speak with them, to eat and drink with them, to suffer them to touch Him. If He forbade Mary Magdalen in the first moment of her joy, yet He suffered Thomas to handle the wounds of His hands and side; and therefore those forty days bring before us both the joys of faith, and the joys of vision. By the Resurrection of our Lord the fountains of the great deep of the joy in Heaven were broken up, and the whole Church, according to the prophecy, was inundated by the river which makes glad the City of God.
The Church of God is inundated to this day by this torrent of sweetness. Notwithstanding the warfare of the Church upon earth, notwithstanding the bitter and relentless persecutions of the world, notwithstanding the Cross, which we must all bear, one by one, if we are true disciples of our Master; nevertheless, there is a joy which He has given and no man can take from us a joy so inward, so deep, so expanding, so multiplying as life goes on, that it is a foretaste of our eternal joy.
1. First, there are the joys of faith. In what do they consist? In the same in which the joy of the Disciples consisted in the forty days, that is, in the presence of Jesus. He ascended to His Father; but He is with us still. To go to His Father is not to be absent from us; it is, indeed, to be out of sight, but He is always near; and therefore the Apostle said to the Christians at Philippi, "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice. Let your modesty," your moderation, "be known unto all men" (Phil. 4:4-5); that is, your self-control, your self-command, your Christian dignity; for "the Lord is nigh," you are always in His presence. He is indeed "at the right hand of the Father," according to the natural mode of His existence; but He showed Himself to Stephen in the moment of his martyrdom; He showed Himself to Saul on the way to Damascus, He stood by him in his answer before the imperial tribunal in Rome; He has manifested Himself to saints again and again; He is with us always; and He will come again. We know that He will be seen once more upon earth; and between His first appearance and His last, though withdrawn from our ordinary sight, He is still near to us. We know that we are in His presence, and the joy of His presence is our joy; but there is another Presence, perpetual, universal, intimate, veiled indeed, but real and personal, always upon the altar. Wheresoever the Holy Catholic Church is, there is Jesus, reigning in the mystery of the Blessed Sacrament, always near to us; and our union with Him is a union so intimate that the mind cannot define it; the heart alone, illuminated by faith, can know by consciousness that which the intellect cannot comprehend.
But not only is His presence the source of our joy, but also our loosing from sin and death, which is now at this moment true and real, and if we be faithful shall be eternal. We know that the Sacrament of Holy Baptism was instituted by our Divine Saviour to raise the soul by a spiritual resurrection from the death of Original Sin. It is a matter of revelation, and therefore a matter of faith and of the divine certainty of faith, that those who are baptized are born again, made children of God, receive the gift of supernatural life, are loosed from the bond of Original Sin, and therefore from the doom of eternal death. Dear brethren, this has passed upon you all. You were every one of you baptized in the unconsciousness of infancy. While as yet your will had never varied or opposed itself to the will of our Redeemer, you received the grace of your regeneration you were loosed from sin and death. If you have fallen under its dominion again if you have willfully become sinful, you have indeed been again condemned to die; but if you have preserved the grace of your Baptism, you are now loosed from sin and death, the power of the Resurrection is upon you. If since your Baptism you have fallen again into mortal sin and so have died once more, there is another Sacrament instituted in the Precious Blood, the Sacrament of Penance; and it is a matter of divine revelation and of divine faith, that all who with true contrition receive the absolution of that Sacrament are once more loosed from all their actual sins, and therefore from eternal death.
Here, then, is the first source of our joy. Why, then, is it we do not rejoice? Because our hearts are cold, and our faith is dim. These great realities are like the presence of God round about us, in the midst of which we walk to and fro every day unconsciously. And once more: if we have faith, and if we lay to heart the truths that I have tried to speak, then we have the consciousness in us of a risen life. As there is a soul which quickens the body, so there is a supernatural life which quickens the soul; and we know that as we have the power of the body, so, we have the power of the soul; and as thought, and intelligence, and motion descend from the head of the body into all our members, so the life that we now live, we live in virtue of our union with our Divine Head in Heaven. This is what the Apostle declares when he says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:1-2).
The spirit of the Resurrection, and the risen life of our Divine Head, are in every one of us, if we are not under the power of mortal sin; and we have this countersign, that if we are become new creatures, the "old things are passed away, all things have become new": that is to say, our old character, our old mind, our old habits, our old loves, our old hates, our old thoughts, our old sins, are stripped from us like a leprous garment. There they are, our grave clothes cast away; there they are, before us still, a vision of sin and death, reminding us of what we were once; but they are ourselves no longer. The spirit of life in us has sloughed them off, like the corrupt flesh of the leper. The winding sheet and the bands of mortality in which we were when we were bound in sin, have been loosened and taken off; the old character is gone. If we are disciples of Jesus Christ, a new mind, new loves, new hatreds, new fears, new hopes, new aspirations, new affections, new desires, have sprung up in us. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17) and in a new creation. A change has passed upon him so great that he may feel day after day the words of our Divine Lord fulfilled in him: "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." (John 14:20).
2. In this we see an outline of the joys of faith, but we cannot longer dwell on them, for there are greater things than these. If these be the joys of faith, what are the joys of vision? What the ripeness of summer is after the bitter piercing cold and death of winter, such is the vision of God when the vision of faith shall melt into the glory of His Kingdom. The same truths, the same realities, the same persons, the same relations, which are here, will be there, and will be eternal. Like as when the snow melts away before the returning sun, the forms of nature, the very same as they were before they were buried, reappear; so shall it be in the vision of glory. This is the office and work of the Holy Ghost. Say the last words of your baptismal creed: "I believe in the Holy Ghost, in the Holy Catholic Church." The Church is His creation: One, because He is One; holy, because He is holy; infallible, because He is the Light of truth: "And in the communion of saints" which is the ripe fruit gathered from the Church on earth into the garners of the Kingdom: "And in the forgiveness of sins" in Baptism, in Penance, in contrition: "And in the resurrection of the body," which shall be raised by the Holy Ghost from the dust, and knit together once more in its perfect glory: "And in life everlasting," which is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the blessed.
This, then, is the joy of vision. And what will be the first object of our sight? Our Divine Lord has said: "I am the door, by which if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved; and he shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture" (John 10:9) that is, the pastures of eternal life. The presence of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus, the vision of our Divine Master in the glory of His Kingdom, is the fulfillment of the promise and the prophecy, "his eyes shall behold the king in his beauty, in the land that is far off." (Is. 33:17). And what is the beauty of the Son of God? The beauty of God Himself. He is the Brightness of His Father's Glory, the Image of His Substance; and God Himself is beauty. That Divine beauty was clothed in the human beauty. The first Adam was beautiful, for he was made unto the likeness and image of God, who is beauty itself; and he was made to the likeness and image of the Second Adam, that is, the Word Incarnate. And the very Person of Jesus Christ is, as the Word of God says, "the fairest among the children of men." (Ps. 44:3).
But this outward beauty, what is it compared with the inward beauty with the love, and the pity, and the compassion, and the mercy, and the purity, and the sanctity of the Sacred Heart? We shall see the countenance of the Friend who has loved us, sorrowed for us, died for us; the countenance of the Son of God fixed upon each one of us; the eyes of our Redeemer looking upon us personally one by one; His voice speaking to us as He spoke to Mary at the sepulcher, calling us each one by name, knowing each one of us in all the intimate consciousness of our personality: this is the beginning of the joy.
And next the consciousness that, through the whole realm of His Kingdom there is but one Will, holy, supreme, and sovereign; and that His will pervades our whole being, so that there is not a beat in the pulse, nor a motion of our whole spiritual nature, that is not in perfect harmony with His; and that the same Will pervades all that are about Him in all the heavenly court; all the holy Angels, all the companies of the Blessed; thereby creating one joy in all, and a mutual joy, so that the joy of all is the joy of each. We all shall have a perfect consciousness of our past in this world, a perfect personal identity, the same there as we were here sin only excepted, a perfect recognition of each other, a perfect interchange of intuition and of mutual intelligence, of all that is in the soul, of each other's bliss and joy. The greatest in the kingdom of God because their capacity is greater shall have a greater joy in the glory of the least, and the least, because their charity is perfect, will rejoice with a greater joy in the glory of those that are higher in bliss than they.
Add to this that which would make even this earth blissful. If for one moment the conflicts, the hatreds, the contentions, the jealousies, the warfares, the jangling, the discords of this world could be suspended if for one day from sunrise to sunset sin could cease, even this world would be blissful. In that world there shall be rest eternal; rest, that is, no temptation, warfare, or cross; rest within, heart, mind, soul, thought, affection, will all in perfect harmony with the perfect will of Jesus. And that which you perhaps will little realize when I say it rest from toil, rest from labor, rest from eating bread in the sweat of your face that which the multitudes and the millions of Christendom, in all lands and all languages, have for their earthly lot the poor laborer, the tiller of the ground those who wring hard sustenance out of the hard earth, who live lives of cold, and pain, and disease, and privation, in homes that are bare, with hungry children, with those that are dearest to them languishing, and fading for want of the food which their toil cannot supply this is an earthly burden of which you who hear me perhaps know little. But in Heaven "they shall hunger no more, they shall thirst no more, neither shall the sun light upon them nor any heat; but the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall rule over them, and shall lead them by the fountains of the waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Apoc. 7:16-17).
And once more: there shall be the joy of conscious eternal health. You have known perhaps in yourselves what pain and sickness is; what it is to languish long upon a bed of suffering; you remember the first day when you rose up again, and went out into the free air and into the light of the sun; when you felt that health had come back, and strength had returned to you, and that vigor was once more in your limbs: what, then, shall be the eternal health of the Kingdom of God, when there shall be no more death, no more disease, no more wasting of the poor body, no more crippled limbs, no more blind eyes, no more ears without hearing, no more distorted members, no more distracted minds, no more unsound brain, or wandering intelligence, or blankness of idiocy. These things shall be gone forever; for with the resurrection of the body they shall be healed eternally and the soul being made perfect, after the image of Jesus, shall be clothed in a glorified body like His own. As there is no more death, there will be no more change. If in this world we had all the desires of our hearts, they could not last forever; and if they could last forever, they could not satisfy our hearts; but in the Kingdom of God there shall be no more change to all eternity. There shall be no yesterday, and there shall be no tomorrow, and there shall be no sunset; it shall be one eternal day now, ever-present the noon of overpassing bliss. The happiness of life, the happiness of home, the happiness of your past where is it? You have to look back for it; it is gone, or it is going, transient and fleeting, and in a little while it will be no longer; but in the Kingdom of God, that life ever new of body, of mind, of soul, of home, of happiness, of perfect identity, of mutual recognition, of restored bonds of love perfected and transfigured in the kingdom of the Resurrection, shall all be changeless and eternal.
There yet remains another joy; but it is one of which I can hardly speak, because I can hardly understand. We shall see God. We shall see Him as He is; our eyes shall behold the Eternal. We shall see His uncreated nature; we shall see that which our hearts cannot conceive; we shall see Him, not by the eyes of flesh and blood, nor by the bare intellect of nature; but by the Light of Glory. The Light of Glory is from the Holy Ghost, the illumination of the intellect by the power of the Holy Ghost. The soul filled with Charity will be elevated by the Holy Ghost to the vision of God, and to the union of all its powers and all its affections with the uncreated Truth and the uncreated Love that is, God Himself. We shall see Him not in His infinity for the finite mind cannot but we shall see Him fully.
Just as when we see a spark of fire we see all fire, though the fire has no limit that we can understand; and as when we see a ray of light we see the whole nature of light, though that light be boundless; so we shall see God. When we shall see His sanctity, purity, wisdom, goodness, power, justice, mercy, pity, compassion, and all the perfections of God, we shall see God as He is, though not His infinity. And we shall see God the Father in His uncreated essence; we shall see God the Son begotten of the Father; we shall see God the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son; we shall see the essence of the glory and of the eternal mutual knowledge and of the eternal mutual love of the Three co-equal Persons in One Godhead. These things surpass both our words and our thoughts; but in the Kingdom of the Resurrection they shall be manifested to all who enter by that Door, which is Jesus Christ, by whose light all shall be revealed. Here, then, are the joys of the Resurrection.
And now, what are the notes, what are the marks of those who are the heirs of that joy? You, as I have said, by your Baptism have been made partakers of the Resurrection; by your absolution you have been loosed from sin and death; you are heirs therefore of the joys of faith and of the joys of vision; but as the Church itself has its notes, so those that are the true disciples of Jesus Christ have their visible notes, which are certain fruits of the Holy Ghost; and what are they?
1. The first note, without which they are disciples only in name, is this: the love of God and their neighbor. St. John says, speaking by the Holy Ghost, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (1 John 3:14). The mark of a soul that has the life of the Resurrection in it, is the love of God above all things; the love of our neighbor as ourselves. The love of God above all things is the love of appreciation, so that we shall be willing to give up the whole world rather than lose God. The love of our neighbor is the warmth of charity sensibly felt by all around us. "Charity begins at home" means this: that there is no charity in the man who does not first pervade his own home with the love of God and his neighbor; and next, that love reaches our friends, each of them in their own order; and after our friends our enemies, and all who stand in need of us. And they who stand in need of us are the mourners, the outcast, the sick, the tempted, the lost, the little children who have no helpers, and lastly, our enemies, and those who bear us ill-will without a cause. If you desire to have a test whereby to know whether you have the life of the Resurrection in you, see how you bear yourselves to those whom you believe to bear ill-will to you. They are among your best friends. The friends that love you and speak fair and soft things to you are not friends, compared to those who look upon you with sharp eyes, and speak with cold voices, and bear unkind hearts. They try what you are; they try your patience, the spirit of your humility, whether you have a crucified will, which is the sure mark of the true disciple of Jesus Christ.
If you have enemies, look to see all that is good in them. There is good in them all. Just as when we look into thick tangled forests there are rays of the sun's light which come down on the leaves and on the earth, here and there, broken and scattered little, it may be, but still the sun is there so in the worst of men, unless they be reprobate, there are still some traces of God. Look and find them: if you have charity, you will have eyes to see that sun's light; and though you cannot be blind to their sin for you must see it, if you have light and discernment from the Holy Ghost nevertheless, in your conduct towards those who are sinful, and in your treatment of sinners, you will be as if you were blind, you will be even as our Lord is to you, who, although He sees every sin in you, bears with you with an immutable patience never sharpens His voice, never makes a gesture of impatience, but seeing that the flax is not yet quenched and the reed not yet broken, He bears with you with a divine pity. So bear with your enemies. And this charity of our hearts will overflow to all the works of God. All the creation of God is a mirror in which God's glory, pity, sweetness, and goodness are reflected; and all the creatures are, as it were, a ladder of ascent whereby to go up into the heart of God. It is through His creatures that He speaks to us. We shall love everything that He has made: the trees of the forest and the flowers of the field, and the dumb creatures they all will be objects of love and kindness because they are loved of their Maker, and their Maker's hand is seen upon them.
2. Charity, then, is the first mark. And the second is liberty, that is, while we love the creatures of God, to be brought into bondage by none of them. The great sin of the world is, that it worships and loves the creature more than the Creator. The great sin of us all is creature worship, putting creatures in the place of God; and this brings us into bondage. We lose our liberty. The creatures darken our understanding, corrupt our hearts, bias our will, turn us away from the service of God to serve the world with its ambitions and its prides and its honors and its fascinations, its covetousness, its craving, and its servility. There is something sad and contemptible in the dependence of men upon the breath of the world, the praise of the world, the blame of the world. If you are men that are "risen with Christ," as the Apostle says, "mind the things that are above, not the things on the earth; you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:2-3). Be not brought into bondage to the world.
But there is one creature in the world which is the most subtle of all there is one creature which is the most fascinating, the most deceitful, and which brings men into bondage more than anything else, and that creature is self the love of self. The love of self is shown in the violent choosing of our will for this or for that, without wisdom and without reason; setting our hearts upon things until they grow so attached that they grow into them; and if they are taken from us, we think we are wounded to death, as if we had lost a limb; then comes sorrow, disgust, discontent, sadness which is a possession of the devil, for the "sorrow of this world worketh death" (2 Cor. 7:10); and then we rise in rebellion against God.
The Man of Sorrows sorrowed not for Himself, but for us; the true and perfect sympathy of the Man of Sorrows was for others. There are only two centers, God and ourselves; and we must rest on one or on the other. If we rest our full weight upon ourselves, we are not resting so much as the weight of a feather upon God, but simply living in ourselves and for ourselves; and we shall suffer suffer in this world continual sorrow, crosses, and disappointment; and if we so die, unless keen expiation shall prepare us for the vision of peace, we may forfeit the face of God to all eternity.
Once more: a lot is meted out to every one of us, and God has chosen it. We do not choose our own lot; some few of its details we may control; but we no more choose our entire lot than we determine the country or the century in which we are born. It is the providence of God; and He ordains what we shall have and shall not have; and that lot is given to us: to be content with it, to be satisfied with it, to rejoice in it. More than this, when we see others happier, richer, more gifted than we are, we ought not only to be content with our own lot, but to rejoice for their sakes if they are preferred before us; if they are more loved than we are, if God has bestowed on them greater graces, if He has put them first and put us last, to rejoice in it all. These are the marks of a heart that is living in the joy of the Resurrection. It lives out of itself; and living out of itself, by this unselfish joy, it has a joy in itself which comes from the presence of Jesus Christ; the overflow of His peace, "which passeth all sense" (Phil. 4:7), the consciousness of that twofold relationship His relation to us, our relation to Him, and our mutual and indissoluble love.
3. Lastly: there is one more mark of which I will speak; and that is, a spirit of praise, a spirit of thanksgiving, joy, and praise. We go on praying all our lifetime, craving, clamoring, with sharp and discontented prayers, because we have not what we desire; and when we receive the gifts of God, we, like the lepers, do not turn back to give Him thanks; the spirit of praise is not in us. And yet there will be no prayer of petition for our own needs in Heaven, there will be no such prayer in eternity. There will be perpetual praise; praise will be the work of the blessed, praise will be our joy, praise will be our sweetness forever. If, then, in this life we do not praise God; if praise is not now on our lips nor in our hearts; if, when we repeat the words of the Psalter, our hearts are earthly and dry, are we training for the praise of the Kingdom of God? Should we know how to sing the canticle of Moses and of the Lamb, who have never learned it here? Remember what praise is. Praise consists in the love of God, in wonder at the goodness of God, in recognition of the gifts of God, in seeing God in all things He gives us, ay, and even in the things that He refuses to us; so as to see our whole life in the light of God; and seeing this, to bless Him, adore Him, and glorify Him: to say, "Holy, holy, holy," in the words of the Seraphim; to say, "Glory be to God in the highest," in the words of the Angels; to say, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost"; to say always and in all things, "Thanks be to God." Learn this spirit of praise in all your daily life.
And now I have but one more word to add. Dear brethren, for many long weeks we have been advancing to this day. We have come up from the desert, through the wilderness of sin. We have dwelt on the horrors of mortal sin and on venial sin, on sins of omission, on temptation; we have gone along the way of the Cross; and but the other day we rested on Mount Calvary, gazing upon the Five Sacred Wounds and upon the desolation of the Son of God. Today we have gone up from the sepulcher to the Throne of the Kingdom of the Resurrection; and round about us we may see by faith those whom we shall hereafter see in vision: the Blessed Mother of God, sinless always; the beloved Disciple, who was without spot; Mary Magdalen, stained through and through, now white as snow: there they stand, the type of saints and penitents, in the Kingdom of God, redeemed by the same Lord and Saviour, washed in the same Precious Blood, arrayed in light, the penitent white as the sinless, because sinless forever; for all sins are done away. "These are they which have come out of great tribulations, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Apoc. 7:14).
We have come, then, in joy, with penitents, and with the saints, to the Kingdom of the Resurrection: but we shall have some years still of temptation and buffeting and sorrow and warfare and of the Cross, on earth. These things must be: storms upon the lake, clouds upon the mountain; they are our earthly lot. What matter? If we be children of the Resurrection, Heaven is ours: and Heaven is near; we know not how long, or how soon our day may be. Before Easter next we may be in the light of the Kingdom; or we may be in its outskirts expiating and waiting for the vision of God. What matter, then, a little pain, a little sorrow, a little penance, a few crosses, if after a little while there be an inheritance of eternal joy?
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