by Clemens Pater
The fifty days of Easter are the occasion for our joy and peace. Jesus Christ is truly risen as He said. He passed from death to life and opened heaven for us. Alleluia is the song of the Church: “Praise to Thee O Lord.”
There is a way to add another dimension to this adoring love of the God who has saved us. We can make an Alleluia of Faith; an Alleluia of Hope; an Alleluia of Charity.
An Alleluia of Faith
One of the important elements of the Easter Vigil is the blessing of Baptismal water. At the Vigil and again on Easter Sunday we are called to renew our Baptismal promises and our Profession of Faith. The Creed is our Alleluia of Faith, and we can profess it in joy to God. He has revealed Himself as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through the history of the Church the teaching of the Popes and the great Councils sought always to express most clearly those revealed truths, sometimes against heresy: false teaching, or confused teaching.
The Tradition of the Catholic Church teaches us about the true nature of Jesus Christ, the authentic meaning and practice of the sacraments, the dogmas concerning Mary, and many more profound truths. Taken together, these are the “deposit of faith,” a real treasure of objective realities that help to define our relationship with, and our responsibilities before God. They correspond completely to the natural law and resonate in the very heart of man. Supernatural faith adds a depth and dimension to these profound realities – some of which we would be unable to discover on our own.
The articles of faith, and the unity of the truth that we proclaim at Easter, cause us to make a wonderful Alleluia of Faith.
An Alleluia of Hope
The truth that is the foundation of Christian hope is this: that Jesus Christ suffered and died and rose bodily from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise He made to the apostles, and to us: that we also will live forever; that we are destined by the Divine plan and the Divine will to be with God forever in heaven. In the Apostles Creed we profess not only that Jesus rose from the dead, but that we also will participate in the resurrection of the body. Our souls are immortal. They were created at a moment; at the beginning of our individual human life, but they will never die. Body and soul, we will live with God forever in eternity. Or, our body and soul we will live in eternal damnation in hell. If we require a time of purification in Purgatory, we know that eventually we will reach unending happiness in heaven.
In his encyclical on Hope, Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI, pointed out that this notion of living forever may, itself, be rather unsettling to us. (Spe Salvi, nos. 10-12) But the promise of Christ assures us that God’s plan will give us a joy and fullness of life beyond our imagining.
The Resurrection of Jesus causes us to sing a trusting Alleluia of Hope.
An Alleluia of Love
In the Paschal Mystery of the suffering and death of Jesus we see the completeness of God’s love for us. He Who is God took human flesh precisely so He could die for our salvation. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn 3: 16)
In our experience of human love: that of our spouse, our children, our most faithful friends, we are transformed. We are renewed and strengthened even in the greatest trials and sufferings of our life. We can “go on” amidst the most challenging times, when we know we have the love and accompanying presence of a faithful and beloved friend.
We contemplate Jesus in the mystery of His complete gift of Himself in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and as we come before the enduring Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We hear His promise spoken to us at the Ascension, “… Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age,” (Mt 28:20) His unending love makes it possible for us to give of our self in love.
Because God has first loved us, we are animated to reach in love and mercy to others, “We love, because He first loved us. …. And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God love his brother also.” (I Jn 4:19, 21)
And we proclaim an Alleluia of love.
The Regina Coeli is said in place of the Angelus during Eastertide (That is, from Easter Day through Pentecost)
Queen of Heaven
- Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
- Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.