THURSDAY-FRIDAY-SATURDAY: April 9-11    EASTER TRIDUUM Issue


COLUMNS: GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

THE CROSS FIRST, THEN THE CROWN

      "Behold, -- behold the wood of the cross - - on which was hung our Salvation. O come, let us adore."

      Thus goes one of the most beautiful songs often heard during Good Friday services. The somber key in which the song is written appropriately enfolds the grave and heart- rending words.

      Last week I wrote about why Jesus chose to suffer to save us. The two main reasons are: 1) to show us how terrible sin is, and 2) to show us how much He loves us.

      So now, as we gather near the end of this Lenten Season and are in the midst of HOLY WEEK, we are brought by means of the Catholic Churchís rich liturgy, to commemorate and re-live in our hearts and prayers, the great Price of our Redemption.

      It is imperative that in order to experience real Christian joy on Easter, Christians must delve profoundly into the sufferings of Our Lord. Or put another way, -- in proportion that we meditate and appreciate the sufferings and death of Jesus will we have joy on Easter. Meditating on the Passion and Death of Our Lord is a prerequisite for a deep joy on Easter Sunday.

      No matter how many times we have lived through Lenten Seasons, there is always something more to learn and appreciate about the Price of our Redemption. It follows, as well, that as we come to know and appreciate more deeply what happened on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the more we are convinced of Godís Infinite love for us. Therefore, our joy on Easter is more real, more spiritual, more refined because our Faith in Godís Love for us is more real, more spiritual, more refined.

      "God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son."

      Suffering for us in this life is inescapable. Everyone suffers. Some more than others. Some mostly physically, others mostly emotionally or psychologically. Some suffer in all of those areas.

      Our Lord did too. He was like us in all things except sin. Jesus shows how to suffer, how to accept suffering and that in itself, suffering is not an evil, but a key to our own sanctification and salvation. Suffering is meritorious for ourselves and others -- perfected and sanctified by Our Lordís sufferings.

      Mother McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, once said: "Without the cross, the real crown cannot come." And set as an example for us, Our Lordís life and death precipitated and bears witness to this truth.

      To arrive at Easter Sunday, we must pass through Holy Week. We must take time to remember at great depth, the price of our salvation. Then our joy on Easter will be real CHRISTIAN joy.

      HE IS RISEN! HE HAS CONQUERED SIN AND DEATH! WE HAVE HOPE! OUR HOPE AND HELP ARE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!

      Alleluia! Jesus, Our King reigns. He wears the crown and will share it with us! Have a Blessed and Joy-filled Easter. God is with us. Amen!