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A Meditation On The Incarnation Of Christ, Sermons On The Life And
Passion Of Our Lord And Of Hearing And Speaking Good Words. -Thomas A Kempis

THIS is the day, which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. A great spiritual joy indeed this so solemn festival of Easter provides us. We are to rejoice then therein not according to the flesh, nor according to the vanity of the world: but according to God, in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Now more abundant grace is to be sought and a more spotless purity observed: now by the pursuit of a new life the soul is to be transported into heavenly desire. For with just cause the Lord has made this day the most glorious and holy: to rejoice therein above all the festivals of the year. Now let all say, let each say: “Hail, most glorious day, which has shone upon us after the foul darkness of hell.” For He Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of glory and Prince of the kings of the earth, this day arose from the dead: and brought the hope of eternal life to all the faithful, believing in Him throughout the world. For when He rose with the flesh, which He took from the Virgin Mary, and offered for us on the cross: the handwriting of our damnation was wiped away: and the gate of eternity unlocked to us with the victory over death. Open then thy mouth, devout soul: and sing with sonorous voice with the whole Catholic Church: in true joy of heart. “This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein, alleluia.” O truly sweet and noble verse: which is so gladly chanted, so often repeated in the canonical Hours; and with its harmony arouses devotion, and recalls the wandering: and most eagerly draws to Christ. Listen therefore, not only to the sweet sounding melody without, but heed the sense of the holy words concealed within: and by the beauty of the chant rise to the inner things of the mind: lest thou lose the fruit of thy labour through the music of the voice: who in the Holy Ghost art bidden to chant psalms to God, and to sing with joy to the Lord ALONE IN THE HEART. Blessed he, who is occupied in these good things; and turns his whole intention towards the joys of the interior feast: thereby to tend to eternal glory by means of the festivals of time, as the Apostle says: “If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; mind the things that are above: not the things that are upon the earth.” I know not what more gladsome and festive is sung the whole year: than that which is celebrated in these paschal days. For the voice and singing of all most frequently resounds with alleluia: and everything ends with alleluia. Wherein figuratively is shown us that which we are to do in the life eternal: when, delivered from present miseries, and carried into the heavenly repose, we shall praise God with the holy angels, filled in eternity with the sovereign good. Duly and reverently then Heaven and earth with all their fullness rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, and are bidden praise God; by Whom such precious gifts of spiritual unction are bestowed upon us: and still greater and higher will be given in the end. Behold now the elements, bound by the winter cold, gradually unfold: and with a certain spring-tide brightness prepare themselves for the coming feast. For the earth, long sterile and fallow, openly displays the fruitfulness of its power: and brings forth joyous buds. The trees and shrubs produce most sweet flowers: and are adorned with fresh leaves, as with new raiment. The grim frost has melted away, and the birds of the Heaven sweetly carol: and flying through the meadows and groves, rejoice that serenity of sky and fullness of harvest are returning. The sun and moon and stars above: diffuse their light with greater brilliance. In sooth no creature is now seen: but by its renovation applauds the risen Christ. When then such rejoicing is found in the elements: what great gladness should there not be to angels and men, placed over the other creatures of the world. Verily this is the day, which the Lord hath made: as He most clearly shows us by the Scriptures, by figures, by prophets, by angels, by apostles and teachers: witnessing and preaching His resurrection. And where all are in harmony, and the highest as the lowest proclaim the same: no motive of doubt should now rest in the heart; for GOD ALMIGHTY IS ABLE MOST FULLY TO ACCOMPLISH ABOVE ALL THAT WE CAN UNDERSTAND: AND TO BRING FORTH A NEW EFFECT FROM NON-EXISTENCE.

Now therefore, when Christ is glorified in the flesh, and the whole world is once more renovated: do thou also, mortal man, glorify God, and be renewed in the spirit of thy mind. Give thanks always to Thy Redeemer for His boundless gifts: bestowed upon thee and all the faithful. Lift up the eyes of thy heart; behold the way, whither Jesus the salvation of thy countenance has gone before: FOLLOW HIM WITH THE FOOTSTEPS OF LOVE even to the gate of Heaven. Thou hast before thine eyes the mirror of all holiness, and the light of heavenly life; walk securely after Jesus, the Bestower of eternal blessedness: the Ruler of Heaven and earth. No man is more holy than He, none more pure: none more glorious, none more rich, none more mighty. “All power is given to Me,” He saith, “in Heaven and in earth.” Therefore let thy faith stand firm in Jesus Christ: let thy hope flourish, thy charity exult. Do manfully and be strengthened; strive against the flesh, against the world, against the devil and his angels: fearing the onrush of no adverse power. For the Lion of the tribe of Juda conquers: Whose wrath no man can withstand; Whose hand no man shall escape: for all things have been placed beneath His feet. Now Heaven rejoices, earth applauds; Satan sorrows, death flees: and shall no longer have dominion over Christ. Under such a king then it is safe to fight, under such a shepherd it is pleasant to abide, to be fed and to be taught, to be subject and to be ruled: Who has need of no man, and is rich in all good things.

Do thou also then imitate the King of kings, the Lord thy God, rising from the dead; that for the rest thou mayest walk in the newness of a better life, treading vices under foot, forgetting past evils, returning not to wonted follies: but more fervently raising thyself to heavenly desires. For Christ, having conquered death, returned not to hell: but, having visited His close friends on earth, ascended joyously into Heaven; raising and exalting the form of the servant above the angelic powers: TEACHING THEE TO RISE TO THE GLORY OF ETERNAL BLISS BY THE STEPS OF HUMILITY AND THE SERVICE OF DUE SUBJECTION. IF THEN THOU DESIREST HEAVENLY CONSOLATION, and to rejoice for ever with the angelic spirits: FLEE CARNAL PLEASURE, WHICH BEGETS DEATH; seek the spiritual nourishment of the soul, which Christ has prepared for them that approach the table of His precious body: sweeter than all banquets of the flesh. FOR UNLESS THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS BE UTTERLY PUT OFF: HEAVENLY SWEETNESS CANNOT ENTER. And save the flesh be subject to the spirit, and all earthly care cast aside; the promised Paraclete shall not come: nor the eating of the paschal Lamb refresh interiorly. That therefore our inner being may be full of spiritual joy: all malice and naughtiness should be taken out of the heart; that as new-born children we may walk in newness of life: WASHED WITH TEARS and clothed in white garments. Then let OUR BEHAVIOUR BE HUMBLE and grave: our eyes restrained, our affections pure: our voices ready, our ears open to the words of God: and ALL OUR SENSES WELL GUARDED ON ALL SIDES. For the angels, the holy ministers of God, are there, noting our actions, who rises earlier: who prays more devoutly, who chants more cheerfully: who seeks Jesus more fervently. Far from us therefore be the noise of the world, let light gossip be shunned; let our words be edifying, to give grace to all that hear: and for them may the speaker merit the blessing of one, who gives a good alms. Let the actions of the Saviour be repeated; let the good news of Jesus of Nazareth be spread abroad among us: to rejoice and delight all. Let the Crucified depart not from the mind: let Christ rising be met on every side. And, if He is not yet beheld with the eyes: in secret He is touched by frequent lamenting; and until He shows Himself to him, who prays: let him depart not from the tomb. Let the holy angels be questioned, who always enjoy His unveiled vision; that they tell us where the Lord is, or pray for us that He deign to appear to us in our grief: and comfort by His most sweet grace the hearts of them, that mourn. Would, O Lord Jesus, Thou wouldst deign to kindle my heart to seek Thee early with Mary, and to strengthen me in faith: Who, breathing, didst bestow the Holy Ghost upon the apostles. Open to me the meaning of the scriptures; AND LEAD ME AS THOU HAST PROMISED, INTO ALL TRUTH: Who art above all God, blessed for ever. Amen.

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