INSTRUCTION ON EASTER
is the festival of Easter?
Easter, in Latin Pascha,
signifies passing over, and has the following historical origin:
Under Pharao, King of Egypt, the Jews in that country groaned under
intolerable bondage. God had mercy on His people, and the hour of
deliverance came. By His command the first-born of all the
Egyptians was killed by an angel. The Jews had been ordered by God
to be ready for emigration, but first to kill a lamb, eat it in
their houses in common, and sprinkle the doorposts with its
blood. And the angel of death, by order of God, passed the doors
sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, and did no harm to any child
of the Israelites, whilst he slew all the first-born sons of the
Egyptians. In grateful memory of this passing their doors, the Jews
observed the festival of Easter, the Pasch, or Passover. After the
death of Jesus, the apostles introduced the same festival into the
Church in grateful remembrance of the day on which Jesus, the true
Easter Lamb, took away our sins by His blood, freed us from the
angel of eternal death, and passed us over to the freedom of the
children of God.
during this time, was Christ's holy soul?
In Limbo, that is, the place
where the souls of the just who died before Christ, and were yet in
original sin, were awaiting their redemption.
have we to expect from the resurrection of
That our bodies will rise
again from death. (Rom. VIII. II) For if Christ our head is alive,
then we His members must also become reanimated, because a living
head cannot exist without living members.
is meant by the Alleluia sung at Easter time?
In English Alleluia means
Praise the Lord, and expresses the joy of the Church at the
Resurrection of Christ, and the hope of eternal happiness which He
has obtained for us.
does the Church on this day bless eggs, bread, and
To remind the faithful that
although the time of fasting is now ended, they should not indulge
in gluttony, but thank God, and use their food simply for the
necessary preservation of physical strength.
At the Introit the Church
introduces Christ, her Head, as addressing His Heavenly Father in
INTROIT I arose, and am still with
thee, alleluia; thou hast laid thy hand upon me, alleluia: thy
knowledge is become wonderful, allel., allel. Lord, thou hast proved
me and known me: Thou bast known my sitting down arid my rising up.
(Ps. CXXXVIII.) Glory be to the Father, etc.
COLLECT O God, who on this day, through
Thine only-begotten Son, didst overcome death and open unto us the
gate of everlasting life; as by Thy prompting grace Thou dost
breathe on the desires of our hearts, so do Thou ever accompany
them with Thy help. Through &c.
Cor. V. 7-8.) Brethren, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a
new paste, as you are unleavened: for Christ our pasch is
sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor
with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened
bread of sincerity and truth.
EXPLANATION St. Paul here exhorts us
that we should at this time remove by a good confession and true
penance the leaven, that is, the sins we have committed, and partake
of the Paschal lamb in holy Communion with a pure, sincere heart; as
the Jews were on this day commanded to eat the Paschal lamb
with unleavened bread, abstaining on this day from the old
During the octave of this
festival repeat often with the Church: "Alleluia! Praise to the
Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endureth forever. Alleluia! This
is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia! Let us rejoice therein,
Alleluia! Our Paschal Lamb is Christ who sacrificed Himself for us,
XVI. 1-7.) At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James
and Salome, bought sweetspices, that, coming, they, might anoint
Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first, day, of the week,
they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said
one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of
the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back, for it
was very great. And, entering into the sepulchre they saw a young
man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe, and they
were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek
Jesus of Nazareth; who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here;
behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples,
and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall
see him, as he told you.
Why did the holy women desire to embalm the body of Jesus
Because it was the custom of
the Jews to embalm the dead, and as the Sabbath was so near and the
time so short that they could not do it before the burial, these
pious women procured the spices, and immediately after the Sabbath,
hurried in the early morning to the sepulchre, to perform this act
of love. We are taught by their conduct, that true love is never
indifferent or slow, and what is agreeable to God it does without
did the angel send the women to the disciples, and especially to
Because the disciples were to
announce the Resurrection of Christ to the whole world, and
they were now much saddened, and disturbed because of His death.
Peter was the head of the apostles, and on account of having three
times denied our Lord, he was greatly dejected and faint of heart,
and was, therefore, above all to be comforted.
encouragement does the Resurrection of Christ give
It encourages us to rise
spiritually with Him, and live henceforth a new life, (Rom. VI. 4.)
which we do if we not only renounce sin, but also flee from. all its
occasions, lay aside our bad habits, subdue our corrupt
inclinations, and aim after virtue and heavenly things.
ASPIRATION I rejoice, O my Jesus, that
Thou hast victoriously risen from death. By Thy triumph over death,
hell and the devil, grant us the grace to subdue our evil
inclinations, walk in a new life, and die to all earthly things.
Amen.INSTRUCTION It is certainly true that Christ, by His death on the cross
and by His resurrection, has rendered perfect satisfaction; and
effected man's redemption; (Heb. IX. 12.) but we must not imagine
that there is no further need of doing penance, or of working out
our salvation. For, as the children of Israel, though freed from
Pharao's bondage, had to fight long and against many enemies in
order to gain the Promised Land, so also must we, though freed by
Christ from the servitude .of the devil, battle against our enemies
to the end of our lives to obtain the promised, heavenly land, for
no one is crowned unless he has properly fought. (II Tim. II.
5.) We must apply the merits of the redemption and satisfaction of
Christ to our soul by the frequent reception of the holy sacraments;
by imitating His virtues; by patiently bearing our trials and
sufferings, and by a penitential life. The pious Angelus
Silesius very appropriately writes:
"God is a Lamb that avails
yon not, my Christian,
If you become not also a lamb of
The cross on Golgotha redeems not from evil,
If it is
not also erected in thee;
The dear Christ's death aids you
not, my Christian,
Until in Him and for Him you also have