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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

CHRIST, our Pasch, is sacrificed. The holy name of the pasch is most noted and known among the faithful: the mystery of which should be very greatly honoured among Christians. Let us therefore all consider: that which was done and instituted for our salvation. For the word pasch signifies the passing of the Lord; because Christ this day came back from death to life, passed from the world to Heaven: to teach us to despise earthly things, and to love heavenly. High praises then we owe to the heavenly Father, Who hath quickened us together in His beloved Son, afflicted and crucified in the flesh; by Whose bruises we are healed, and delivered from eternal death by His undeserved suffering: and again rejoiced exceedingly in His most glorious resurrection.

The sorrow of Christ’s cruel death has passed, destroying the enmity of the former sin: and cleansing away all the stains of our guilt. Sweetness of ineffable joy has followed, and the height of everlasting glory; which shall be given to all born again in Christ by baptism, after the exile of this world: as to men coming back from Egypt to the joy of Paradise. For, by the sacrifice of the true Lamb, the spiritual Israel was freed from the captivity of the devil’s damnation: and the new people of God passed to the liberty of the heavenly dwelling; because Christ, rising from the dead, changed the old pasch into a new: and turned temporal into everlasting life. Well then does the apostle say, and holy Mother Church everywhere joyously sing: “Christ our pasch is sacrificed.” We should therefore always be mindful of the dolorous passion of Christ, as also of His gladsome resurrection for the comfort of our mortality; that by the sufferance of many tribulations for Christ we may have the hope and trust of reigning for ever with Him. Let us strive now in this holy and joyous time to rise to the desire of a new life: and with spiritual gladness sing praises to God. For Christ is able to aid us yet more: and more burningly kindle us with desire of heavenly life.

But he darkens the brightness of the paschal feast, whoever pants rather for the eating of meats, than for the communion of the precious body of Christ: WHEREIN THE SOURCE OF ALL SWEETNESS and the nourishment of the soul are contained. For in sooth without this most sacred food, every wealthy table luxuriously prepared is empty and tasteless. For as the soul is better than any body: so Christ, Who is the food of the soul, surpasses every taste in sweetness. And albeit now, because of the solemnity of the Lord’s resurrection, there is more abundant rejoicing, and better foods are more freely given; nevertheless the frequenting of banquets should be MODERATE: and the appetite of the flesh curbed with the fear of God. FOR THIS IS PROFITABLE TO THE HEALTH OF BODY AND SOUL: and renders man more fit for the praises of God. Let not then the covetousness of the flesh overcome thee: but by devotion of mind conquer, in the power of the Holy Ghost, whatever material delight meets thy senses. Blessed is that soul, which is drawn by the odour of the ointments of Christ to taste the heavenly banquet: and with the psalmist cries and says: “At Thy right hand are delights even to the end: but I shall be satisfied, when Thy glory shall appear.” Assuredly all the foolish of heart are deceived, who, leaving aside true and heavenly goods, seek their consolation in earthly things: and without the curb of just moderation covet to have much. “THE KINGDOM OF GOD,” saith the apostle, “is not meat and drink: but PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST.”

Who is he then that celebrates the pasch in the spirit? He, who passes over from vice to virtue, who rises from the old life and evil ways to the state of new devotion. Who is he, that worthily honours the pasch? He, who spurns worldly honours: and seeks the glory of Christ in all his good deeds. Who is he, that sacrifices the goat on the evening of the pasch? He, who truly repents of his sins: and henceforth ceases to sin. Who is he, that eats the roast lamb with lettuce? He, who sorrowfully meditates on Christ suffering on the cross: and, living blamelessly, chastises himself. Who is the true Hebrew, that crosses the Red Sea? He, who passes from the sense of the flesh to the sweetness of the spirit: and forgetting the things that are behind, stretches out to those that are before. Who is the true son of Abraham? He, who, from servile fear, sets forth into the liberty of the children of God. Who is the true disciple of Jesus? He, who perfectly renounces all earthly things: and forsakes his own will. Who is worthy to sit at the table of Christ? He, who freely humbles himself for the love of Christ. Who is ready to enter the kingdom of Heaven? He, who despises the kingdom of the world and all earthly splendour. He is the friend of God, the citizen of Heaven: the master of the world. Who is FIT TO GAZE UPON THE FACE OF CHRIST, and dive into the secrets of Heaven? He, who is clean of heart, fervent in prayer: and wholly given to interior things. Who is dear and acceptable to God? He, who is abject in his own eyes: and who holds in small esteem all that passes away.

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