Rosary Crusade Clarion
Devotional bulletin of the Rosary Crusade in Canada

April 2002 Issue #16

The resurrection

The Message Of The Risen Christ

The risen Christ manifested Himself to men on Easter in manifold ways.  He sent different messages to mankind.  That we may fully be able to surrender ourselves to the feeling of Easter joy, today let us examine some aspects of the messages of the risen One.  How many warnings, how much guidance, encouragement, and consolation they contain!


The Message To The Holy Women

The first message from the risen Christ was received by those holy women who, in the twilight of the Easter dawn when all Jerusalem was still sleeping, lovingly hastened to Christ's sepulcher, taking spices and ointments with which to anoint His sacred body. Grief, as heavy as the great stone before Christ's tomb, oppressed their loving hearts.

But see.  What is this? What has happened here? From a distance they can see that the stone is no longer before the door of the sepulcher, but lies rolled aside on the ground.  What has happened? They hasten to the tomb, they look in. The tomb is empty.  But an angel, seated upon the displaced stone, greets them in a joyful voice: "Fear not you, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said.  Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid" (Mt. 28: 5f.).

Do you hear, brethren, the first message of the risen Christ that was proclaimed by an angel to the holy women, and to us also?  The gentle women wished to do Christ's dead body a service. And the Lord, who never leaves unrewarded even the least service that we render to Him, rewarded them for this by allowing them to be the first to hear of the most marvelous event in all history.

Yet they wished to care only for Christ's dead body.  How grateful Christ will be to us if we care for His living body, if we build and cherish His living body, His Church, either in our own soul or in that of others in whom a sinful life has brought it to ruins, and who are led back to God by our word and example! How grateful Christ will be for our very least apostolate!

The Message To St. Peter

The second message from the risen Christ was received by St. Peter, the Peter who denied Him.  The angel, still speaking to the holy women, said: "He is risen, He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him.   But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee" (Mk. 16:6f.).

"Tell Peter." Poor Peter. Where was he, I wonder, when that Easter day dawned?   Probably he was sitting broken-hearted behind locked doors with the other Apostles.  Upon his soul weighed the unhappy memory of his denial; upon St. John's, the last glance of the dying Christ; upon the others, the torturing problem of an uncertain future.  In speechless silence they sit.  All at once someone knocks sharply on the door, then again. And excited women's voices exclaim: Peter, come immediately. Peter.  The Lord has risen.  He lives and greets you.   Peter, do you hear?  He greets you, you, who denied Him, you, who swore that you did not know Him, you denied Him, but you repented. You denied Him, but you have done penance, and therefore He no longer remem­bers your fall now, but greets you.

Do we not hear the Alleluia of Easter joy resounding from this Christly message?  Truly, thus does our Lord forget the sad past of the repentant sinner who returns to Him. In the confessional such healing balm really falls upon every sin of which we repent.  O message of pardon from my blessed Christ.  How it revives, strengthens, and consoles me when I remember the many sins I have committed in my past life!  Peter, do you hear? The Lord greets you.

The Message To Mary Magdalen

That we may quite surely believe this and that we may see still more clearly into the merciful depths of Christ's all-forgiving heart, the third message of this Easter Day is addressed to another repentant sinner, to Mary Magdalen.


The Easter sun is shining in full brilliance, but at the tomb a broken-hearted, struggling soul weeps in despair.  It is Mary Magdalen.  Her past is a dark shadow on her soul, but she has been converted, she repents, and walks with bleeding feet on the thorny path the followers of Christ must tread, and the Lord considers her also worthy of the Easter message. Grievously Mary Magdalen sobs beside Christ's empty sepulcher.   "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him" (Jn. 20-. 13). Then suddenly Jesus appears behind her, but Magdalen does not recognize Him.   He questions her: "Why weepest thou?  Whom seekest thou?" Magdalen thinks that the gardener is addressing her, and replies: "Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him."  At that the Lord speaks in His own beloved voice: "Mary."  Ah!   How many things must have flashed into Magdalen's mind at that moment!   Had the hour come of which the Lord spoke when He said: "If I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself"? (Jn. 14: 3)

The "little while" during which "you shall not see Me" had really passed, and the time of that other promise had come: "Again a little while and you shall see Me" (Jn. 16:16).  Surely all this occurred to Magdalen.  Surely she thought that Christ's kingdom had come.

But the Lord speaks, and what He says is a remarkable warning: "Do not touch Me for I am not yet ascended to My Father" (Jn. 20: 17).

He has not yet ascended to His Father, whence He will again come and lead us home.  That is, God's kingdom is not yet consummated.  Since God's Son came among us, God's kingdom is here in our midst, but only as a seed that has been sown.  God's Son broke the power of sin, He erased our debt in the account book, He overcame death; all this belongs to the development and maturing of God's kingdom.   Its consummation will be only when time is no longer measured according to the sun and moon, when Christ comes again …

Yes, He will come again.   But till then the earth awaits our work, it awaits the seed sown by our hands: "Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16: 15)....

Let us hear the encouragement of the risen Christ's message: Among whatever trials, conflicts, and temptations you may be, let God's kingdom develop in your souls, endure at My side till "I will come again and will take you to Myself."

The Message To His Enemies

the resurrection

Christ's resurrection, however, brought not only encouragement and consolation, it brought also a warning; a warning message to those who still wished to remain His enemies.

It is the night before Easter.  Let us see what is happening in this silent night.  All Jerusalem is asleep. ...But see, deathly pale Roman soldiers seek the chief priests.  "The dead Christ is no longer in His grave, He is risen."  This had the effect of a thunderbolt. Something must be done at once.  If nothing else helps, then we must lie.  We must make up some tale. The people are so credulous, they will believe it.

How often we meet even today with the modern editions of those Jewish chief priests!   Only lie to the people about Christ, about the Church, about religion; they will believe everything.  Since that first Good Friday, how often has a fanatic mob screamed to Christ's Church: To the cross with the Church!   Crucify her.   Let her blood be upon us and upon our children.

The holy Catholic Church is the Christ who continues to live among us.  How often has this mystical Christ also had to walk His Calvary!   How often have His enemies gone to rest at night with the comforting reflection: At last.  At last we have settled this thoroughly.

Yet, after all, the Easter dawn always broke. The fury of His enemies would have annihilated the Lord by shameful means, by the cross.  Ever since that moment He has reigned from the cross. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself" (Jn. 12: 32)....

With hearts full of hatred, the mob yelled at the foot of the cross: We will not pay homage, we have no king, we have only an earthly emperor.  And today their voices are drowned by the tones of another hymn: "We adore Thee, a Christ, and bless Thee, because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world."

The Message To His Followers

Christ gave one more message on Easter, and this was addressed to His followers.  The twilight is falling.  In the houses the lamps are lighted.   In the room where the last supper was eaten the sorrowing Apostles sit behind locked doors.  They speak

continually of Christ.   Peter and John have been to the sepulcher: it was empty.  The women too speak all manner of things.  The Apostles are fearful, yet they also hope... .

But see, what is this?   What is this brightness? It is the Lord.  With tearful eyes and trembling fingers, they caress the hem of His garment.  O dear Lord, our dear Master.  And the Lord speaks: "Peace be to you. It is 1, fear not."  It is as if He had said: Now let there be an end to sorrow.  See, I have triumphed.  I have overcome sin and I have overcome death.

Christ overcame sin.  St. Ambrose says: "In Christ the world is resurrected, the heaven and the earth are resurrected in Him."  The world is resurrected in this sense, that the confusion caused by sin is fundamentally healed.  From Adam a human species has descended that was wedded to death. From Christ a new generation descends that, through faith in Him and through the merits of His death, has gained citizenship in the realm of life.

What was the first word of the risen Christ? "Peace be to you" (Jn. 20: 19).  And saying this, He breathed the Holy Ghost upon them and gave them power to forgive sins.

How well the Lord knew the human soul!   How well He knew that it thirsts for peace, but sin and peace exclude each other.  That we might gain peace, He gave us forgiveness of sins.  Truly a sinful soul can have no peace. Why not?  Because the human soul is God's breath and cannot be peaceful if it loses its resemblance to God. He who is not at peace with God, how can he be at peace with himself?  Oh, what a blessing confession is, for it brings peace!...

"Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia," resounds the triumphal chant of the Church at mass on Holy Saturday everywhere in the world.  And rightly so. For the serpent of doubt and the rebellious angel of denial both become silent in voiceless impotence on seeing the victory of the risen Lord.  Christ's resurrection is such a fundamental, central doctrine of Christianity that it has changed the face of the world. From it sprang the fiery zeal of the Apostles, from it sprang the martyrs' courageous contempt of death, the saints' self-sacrificing faith, all the spiritual greatness, exalting power, consolation, sacred endeavor, and ideal life that has flourished for nineteen hundred years in the fertile soil of holy Christianity. Christ's empty sepulcher inspired the imagination of poets, moved the painter's brush, guided the sculptor's chisel.  In the key note, the fundamental colour or lines of all the great and sublime that the arts of painting, sculpture, music, and architecture have created during all the Christian centuries, we find the triumphant mood of Christ's empty tomb, the risen Christ's life-giving message.

Then let us understand our Lord's every message.  The message that He sent to the women and that spurs us to apostolic labour.  The message that He sent to Peter and that consoles our penitent souls.  The message that He sent to Magdalen and that urges our greater spiritual maturity.  And the message that He sent to His followers and that speaks of the final victory of those who are faithful to Him.

Whoever understands the message of the risen Christ will often repeat this little prayer: "Help me, my Lord, to be faithful to Thee in life so that when my arms, benumbed by death, again move on the day of final victory, I may be able to hold fast to Thee eternally; that when the light of life again flames in my glazed eyes I may see Thee eternally; that when words again resound from my cold lips I may glorify Thee eternally; and when my still heart once more begins to beat that I may be happy leaning on Thy sacred heart forever; O Thou victor over sin and death, Thou victorious, blessed, risen Saviour."  Amen.

- from The Risen Christ, by Bishop Toth


Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him; today I am given life with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise again with Him. Today let us offer Him Who has suffered and Who has risen for us - you think perhaps I was about to say, gold, or silver, or precious things, or shining stones of rare price, the frail material of this earth, which will remain here, and of which the wicked and those who are slaves of earthly things and of the prince of this world possess the greatest part -rather, let us offer Him ourselves, which to God is the most precious and becoming of gifts. Let us offer to His Image what is made in the image and likeness of this Image. And let us make recognition of our own dignity. Let us give honour to Him in Whose Likeness we were made. Let us dwell upon the wonder of this mystery, that we may understand for what Christ has died.

- St. Gregory Nazianzenus.



As God, Jesus Christ is forever perfect, lacking no perfection, needing no increase of glory. But in His human nature, our Lord was a creature. As a man was so unjustly condemned, tortured and killed, that He could not rest in peace, and allow His flesh to see corruption in the grave. It was for this He prayed: "Now, Father, do Thou exalt Me at Thy own side, in that glory which I had with Thee before the world began" -(Jn. 17: 5).

The Resurrection of our Saviour is the first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary; it is the beginning of the life of eternal of glory, which Christ has entered into with His human nature. His divine power is now manifest to the world. Let us honour Him, as St. Gregory Nazianzenus says, by giving Him our whole selves, especially dwelling on this mystery in our prayers.

United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Emanuel Herkel
Fr. Herkel