"Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia"
"And now it is our turn to hand on the faith. Those who do not have faith themselves cannot hand it on. But if our faith is strong we are the light of the world, with Jesus Christ, our Light, whose Resurrection we celebrate today."
Hope springs eternal on this day for our Faith has been rewarded! No greater proof is needed and yet so many of us become doubting Thomases when so much evidence of the True Faith and its Sacred Traditions are visible because those who came before us continued the Tradition.
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for this Glorious Easter Sunday, he shares one of the keys that identifies the Roman Catholic Church from all others and that is the Sacred Traditions handed down from the time of Christ in the Scriptures, Liturgy, sacramentals, devotions, rituals, customs and relics that reflect the Mystery of the Faith and remind us of our rich, treasured heritage and undeniable succession tracing the only faith back directly to Our Lord. Father points out that it is up to each and every one of us to continue the Tradition and hand down the Faith and all its rich legacy to the next generation in a time when so much threatens its extinction because of satan's insidious agenda to destroy Christ's Church. We can counter that just as Christ overcame death and sin for "He has risen as He said, Alleluia": "Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia"
Note: For the Readings for this most glorious of days, see Proper for the Resurrection of the Lord
"I write of what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled: of the Word of Life" (1Jn.1:1).
Even when it happened, few believed it. Only a handful at first, a few holy women who came to the tomb early in the morning, to anoint the body of Jesus. To their great surprise, the stone was rolled away from the door of the tomb, and the body of Jesus was not there. Later, Mary Magdalene was at the tomb grieving over the loss of her Lord. To One Whom she took to be the gardener, she said, through her tears: "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him" (Jn.20:13). Of course, it was Jesus Himself, our Risen Lord. When Mary and the other women had reported to the Apostles what they had seen, they, too, were hard to convince. Peter and John had to see for themselves:
"Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and they went to the tomb. The two were running together, and the other disciple ran on before, faster than Peter, and came first to the tomb. And stooping down he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not enter. Simon Peter therefore came following him, and he went into the tomb, and saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief which had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded in a place by itself. Then the other disciple also went in, who had come first to the tomb. And he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead" (Jn.20:3-9).
How is this faith handed on? The phrase "handed on" evokes the idea of Sacred Tradition, by which the faith of the Apostles was handed on intact to their successors, and those who adhered to their teaching. It is hard to rekindle the lively faith and intense excitement of the first believers, but at the Paschal Vigil the Church offers the evidence of her faith, a light which has not been extinguished for two thousand years. The greatest evidence is the heart and mind of the believing Church herself. Those who accept the Church's evidence and seek baptism are welcomed by the Church as a mother welcomes her children.
The faith is handed on through the Sacred Liturgy - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments. At Easter the Church's faith shines forth in the Paschal Candle, which is a symbol of Christ. "Before being lighted, its scriptural type is the pillar of a cloud, which hid the Israelites when they went out from Egypt; under this form, it is the figure of Our Lord, when lying lifeless in the tomb. When lighted, we must see in it both the pillar of fire which guided the people of God, and the glory of our Jesus risen from His grave" (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year).
At the Easter Vigil the Deacon sings the joyous "Exsultet" in praise of the Paschal Candle:
"Let the angelic choirs of heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries give praise; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered."
The faith is handed on through the Sacred Scriptures, the Holy Bible, the canon of which it took several centuries to establish. Only the Catholic Church had the authority to establish the canon of Sacred Scripture, and the same Church alone has the authority to officially interpret it. Those who look to the Bible as the sole rule of faith, denying the authority of the Catholic Church, cannot safely interpret the Bible without going astray.
The faith is also handed on through the holy relics which are evidence of the Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection, especially the Holy Shroud of Turin. On the Holy Shroud Jesus left us a miraculous image of His Body, with the marks of His Sacred Wounds, confirming exactly the Biblical records of His Passion and Death. In the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain, the cloth called the Sudarium, referring to the Holy Face, conforms exactly to the Shroud of Turin, the bloodstains matching those on the Shroud. Scientists have confirmed that the same blood type is found on both relics. The Holy Sudarium arrived in Oviedo in the 9th century with other relics, coming from North Africa. These are undoubtedly the same two cloths that Peter and John saw when they arrived breathless at the empty tomb after the Lord's Resurrection.
To hand on the faith we also have the sacramentals and traditional devotions which help the faithful to ponder the mysteries of the faith. We could mention the Sign of the Cross, holy water, the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Stations of the Cross, plus others too numerous to mention. We have sacred art and statuary, and beautiful traditional cathedrals, churches and shrines.
We must not forget the thousands of saints, mystics, theologians and spiritual writers who have left us an incredibly rich legacy of Catholic doctrine and spirituality. From St. Augustine through St. Thomas Aquinas to St. Alphonsus Liguori, from St. Brigid of Sweden through Anna Katherine Emmerich to St. Therese of Lisieux, we have a cloud of witnesses to the traditional faith of the Catholic Church. It is truly the Faith of our Fathers. If these great souls were with us today we would find them struggling against the strange new faith of the conciliar church, which they would recognize as heretical and schismatic. Oh for an Athanasius or a Catherine of Siena today!
And now it is our turn to hand on the faith. Those who do not have faith themselves cannot hand it on. But if our faith is strong we are the light of the world, with Jesus Christ, our Light, whose Resurrection we celebrate today.
From the "Exsultet":
"We beseech You, therefore, O Lord, that this wax candle, sanctified in honor of Your name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as an odor of sweetness, may it be united with the heavenly lights. Let the morning star find its flame alight; that star, I mean, which knows no setting, He Who returning from the grave, serenely shone forth upon mankind."
Father Louis J. Campbell
vol 14, no. 23
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons