The Paradox of the Resurrection

This essay from Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson seems presciently apt for this current chastisement. We are given this brief period of introspection to strengthen us for what is coming very quickly. Do not be caught unprepared, please use this time to gather your family, strengthen them spiritually and live your consecrations as never before.Be prepared for this great spiritual battle.

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“. . . On Easter Day look at Him again and see how He lives as never before. See how the Life that has been His for thirty years – the Life of God made Man – itself pales almost to a phantom before the glory of that same Life transfigured by Death. Three days ago He fainted beneath the scourge and nails; now He shows the very scars of His Passion to be the emblems of immortal strength. Three days ago He spoke in human words to those only that were near Him, and limited Himself under human terms of space and time; He speaks now in every heart. Three days ago He gave His Body to the few who knelt at His Table; to-day in ten thousand tabernacles that same Body may be worshipped by all who come. Continue reading “The Paradox of the Resurrection”

The Entombment


“The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.” (St. John, xix., 32–34.)

The next events after the death of Christ are described by St. John (xix., 31–37) as follows:

“Then the Jews, that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that was a great Sabbath day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of Him. And again another scripture saith: They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”


“And taking Him down, he (Joseph) wrapped Him in fine linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre, that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid.” (St. Luke xxiii., 53.)

What the four evangelists narrate concerning the last events of the history of the Passion may be summed up as follows: Continue reading “The Entombment”

Father Groenings on the Crucifixion

Today we offer our most loved Good Friday post from Father James Groenings, S. J.


Today, we examine three events which occurred at the time of Our Lord’s Crucifixion. The miraculous sign of the total eclipse, the rending of the Temple veil and the earthquake. These thoughts are largely drawn from the writings of Father Groenings, S. J.

The Total Eclipse of the Sun

This eclipse of the sun was not a natural one. It was miraculous in every respect and that for these reasons: First it occurred at the time of the full moon. For this Friday was the day when, according to the Law, the Pasch should be celebrated, and this feast always occurred at the time of the full moon. Now, naturally, an eclipse of the sun can occur only at the time of the new moon, when the latter is between the sun and the earth.

Then, it was miraculous because it was total from the very beginning.  Lastly, because it remained total for three hours. In an ordinary eclipse of the sun, the moon, in the beginning, covers only a part of the sun, then gradually more, until the darkness reaches its greatest height, whereupon it again gradually decreases.

This eclipse of the sun was, therefore, an extraordinary work of God, and the Holy Fathers freely apply to it the words of the prophet Amos, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the sun shall go down at mid-day, and I will make the earth dark in the day of light.” Continue reading “Father Groenings on the Crucifixion”

Father forgive them . . .

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Today, Good Friday, April 7, 2023, we offer a brief essay based on the writings of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen for the Passion of Christ.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!

It seems to be a fact of human psychology that when death approaches, the human heart speaks its words of love to those whom it holds closest and dearest. There is no reason to suspect that it is otherwise in the case of the Heart of hearts. If He spoke in a graduated order to those whom He loved most, then we may expect to find in His first three words the order of His love and affection. His first words went out to enemies: “Father, forgive them”,  His second to sinners: This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise”, and His third to saints, Woman, behold thy son”,  Enemies, sinners, and saints—such is the order of Divine Love and Thoughtfulness.

The congregation anxiously awaited His first word. The executioners expected Him to cry, for every one pinned on the gibbet of the Cross had done it before Him. Seneca tells us that those who were crucified cursed the day of their birth, the executioners, their mothers, and even spat on those who looked upon them. Cicero tells us that at times it was necessary to cut out the tongues of those who were crucified, to stop their terrible blasphemies. Hence the executioners expected a cry but not the kind of cry that they heard.


The Scribes and Pharisees expected a cry, too, and they were quite sure that He who had preached “Love your enemies”, and “Do good to them that hate you”, would now forget that Gospel with the piercing of feet and hands. They felt that the excruciating and agonizing pains would scatter to the winds any resolution He might have taken to keep up appearances. Every one expected a cry, but no one with the exception of the three at the foot of the Cross, expected the cry they did hear. Like some fragrant trees which bathe in perfume the very axe which gnashes them, the great Heart on the Tree of Love poured out from its depths something less a cry than a prayer, the soft, sweet, low prayer of pardon and forgiveness: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 
Continue reading “Father forgive them . . .”

“I will not leave you orphans”, 2023

For Maundy Thursday we offer you one of our most loved posts, The Litany of His Love, with our prayers for you this holy Lent.

The term litany is derived from the Greek word for prayer, entreaty or supplication. The post-conciliar Church tends to disdain litanies as repetitious but faithful Catholics know them for what they are, sweet words of love exchanged between the Beloved and His own. On Holy Thursday evening during the time He instituted His sacrament of love, Our Lord spoke tenderly, pleading with His loved ones (and by them, us!) to understand this new law of love. See how often, in varied ways, He reminds us of His love for us and the sweet burden we share for the salvation of souls.

The Litany of His Love

John, Ch. 13, v. 1. “… Jesus knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father:  having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”
v. 14-15. “If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.”
v. 34-35. “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.”  Continue reading ““I will not leave you orphans”, 2023”

The Seven Last Words, Parts VI & VII

Continuing the Lenten Sermon of Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson, Parts VI & VII


“It is consummated.”

He has finished His “Father’s business,” He has dealt with sinners and saints, and has finally disclosed to us the secrets of the Soul and the Body of His that are the hope of both sinners and saints alike. And there is no more for Him to do.

An entirely new Beginning, then, is at hand, now that the Last Sabbath is come — the Last Sabbath, so much greater than the First as Redemption is greater than Creation. For Creation is a mere introduction to the Book of Life; it is the arrangement of materials that are to be thrown instantly into confusion again by man, who should be its crown and master. The Old Testament is one medley of mistakes and fragments and broken promises and violated treaties, to reach its climax in the capital Mistake of Calvary, when men indeed “knew not what they did.” And even God Himself in the New Testament, as man in the Old, has gone down in the catastrophe and hangs here mutilated and broken. Real life, then, is now to begin.

Yet, strangely enough, He calls it an End rather than a Beginning. Consummatum est!”

I. The one and only thing in human life that God desires to end is Sin. There is not a pure joy or a sweet human relationship or a selfless ambition or a divine hope which He does not desire to continue and to be crowned and transfigured beyond all ambition and all hope. On the contrary, He desires only to end that one single thing which ruins relationships and spoils joy and poisons aspirations. For up to the present there is not one page of history which has not this blot upon it. Continue reading “The Seven Last Words, Parts VI & VII”

The Seven Last Words, Parts IV and V

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Continuing Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson’s Lenten sermon, “The Seven Last Words”, Parts IV & V. This is such a beautiful and necessary post! It’s sad that so few people will see it here. Please share.

In the following essay,  Msgr. Benson teaches us about “leaving God to find God”, that is, when all spiritual consolation is withdrawn from us, and then when “the very reasons for faithfulness appear to vanish”. If you are not aware, even in the slightest, of this state, you still need to read this, and save it, for it will become clear. Msgr. does not speak of the third degree of that state of desolation because to attempt to use words is to betray it.


“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Our Blessed Lord in the revelation He makes from the Cross passes gradually inwards to Himself Who is its centre. He begins in the outermost circle of all, with the ignorant sinners. He next deals with the one sinner who ceased to be ignorant, and next with those who were always nearest to Himself, and now at last He reveals the deepest secret of all. This is the central Word of the Seven in every sense. There is no need to draw attention to the Paradox it expresses. Continue reading “The Seven Last Words, Parts IV and V”

The Seven Last Words, Part III

posted on : March 30, 2021  by : evensong

Continuing from Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson’s Lenten Sermon on the Seven Last Words of Christ Our Lord, Part III, from “Paradoxes of Catholicism”.


“Woman, behold thy son. Behold thy mother”

Our Divine Lord now turns, from the soul who at one bound has sprung into the front rank, to those two souls who have never left it, and supremely to that Mother on whose soul sin has never yet breathed, on whose breast Incarnate God had rested as inviolate and secure as on the Bosom of the Eternal Father, that Mother who was His Heaven on earth. Standing beside her is the one human being who is least unworthy to be there, now that Joseph has passed to his reward and John the Baptist has gone to join the Prophets — “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, who had lain on the breast of Jesus as Jesus had lain on the breast of Mary.

Our Lord has just shown how He deals with His dear sinners; now He shows how He will “be glorified with His Saints”. The Paradox of this Word is that Death, the divider of those who are separated from God, is the bond of union between those that are united to Him.

I. Death is the one inexorable enemy of human society as constituted apart from God. A king dies and his kingdom is at once in danger of disruption. A child dies and his mother prays that she may bear another, lest his father and she should drift apart. Death is the supreme sower of discord and disunion then, in the natural order, since he is the one supreme enemy of natural life. He is the noonday terror of the Rich Fool of the parable and the nightmare of the Poor Fool, since those who place their hope in this life see that death is the end of their hope. For these there is no appeal beyond the grave.

II. Now precisely the opposite of all this is true in the supernatural order, since the gate of death, viewed from the supernatural side, is an entrance and not an ending, a beginning and not a close. This may be seen to be so even in a united human family in this world, the members of whom are living the supernatural life; for where such a family is living in the love of God, Death, when he comes, draws not only the survivors closer together, but even those whom he seems to have separated. He does not bring consternation and terror and disunion, but he awakens hope and tenderness, he smooths away old differences, he explains old misunderstandings.

Our Blessed Lord has already, over the grave of Lazarus, hinted that this shall be so, so soon as He has consecrated death by His own dying. “He that believeth in Me shall never die.”  He, that is to say, who has “died with Christ”, whose centre henceforward is in the supernatural, simply no longer finds death to be what nature finds it. It no longer makes for division but for union; it no longer imperils or ends life and interest and possession, but releases them from risk and mortality.

Here, then, He deliberately and explicitly acts upon this truth.

He once raised Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus and the Widow’s Son from the dead, for death’s sting could, at that time, be drawn in no other way; but now that He Himself is tasting death for every man, He performs an even more emphatically supernatural act and conquers death by submitting to it instead of by commanding it. Life had already united, so far as mortal life can unite, those two souls who loved Him and one another so well. These two, since they knew Him so perfectly knew each the other too as perfectly as knowledge and sympathy can unite souls in this life. But now the whole is to be raised a stage higher. They had already been united on the living breast of Jesus; now, over His dead body, they were to be made yet more one.

It is marvelous that, after so long, our imaginations should still be so tormented and oppressed by the thought of death; that we should still be so without understanding that we think it morbid to be in love with death, for it is far more morbid to be in fear of it. It is not that our reason or our faith are at fault; it is only that that most active and untamable faculty of ours, which we call imagination, has not yet assimilated the truth, accepted by both our faith and our reason, that for those who are in the friendship of God death is simply not that at all which it is to others. It does not, as has been said, end our lives or our interests: on the contrary it liberates and fulfils them.

The Communion of Saints

And all this it does because Jesus Christ has Himself plunged into the heart of Death and put out his fires. Henceforth we are one family in Him if we do His will, (we are) His brother and sister and mother; and Mary is our Mother, not by nature, which is accidental, but by super-nature, which is essential. Mary is my Mother and John is my brother, since, if I have died with Christ, it is “no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me”. In a word, it is the Communion of Saints which He inaugurates by this utterance and seals by His dying. “Woman, behold thy son. Behold thy mother.

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
†  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

The Seven Last Words, Part II

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
previously posted on : March 29, 2021  by : evensong
Continuing Monsignor Benson’s “Seven Last Words”.


Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.

Our Divine Lord, in this Second Word, immediately applies and illustrates the First and drives its lesson home. He shows us how the rain of mercy that poured out of heaven in answer to the prayer He made just now enlightens the man who, above all others present on Calvary, was the most abjectly ignorant of all; the man who, himself at the very heart of the tragedy, understood it less, probably, than the smallest child on the outskirts of the crowd.

His life had been one long defiance of the laws of both God and man. He had been a member of one of those troops of human vermin that crawl round Jerusalem, raiding solitary houses, attacking solitary travellers, guilty of sins at once the bloodiest and the meanest, comparable only to the French apaches of our own day. Well, he had been gripped at last by the Roman machine, caught in some sordid adventure, and here, resentful and furious and contemptuous, full of bravado and terror, he snarled like a polecat at every human face he saw, snarled and spat at the Divine Face Itself that looked at him from a cross that was like his own; and, since he had not even a spark of the honour that is reputed to exist among thieves, taunted his fellow criminal for the folly of His crime.

“If thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us.”

Again, then, the Paradox is plain enough. Surely an educated priest, or a timid disciple, or a good-hearted dutiful soldier who hated the work he was at, surely one of these will be the first object of Christ’s pardon; and so one of these would have been, if one of ourselves had hung there. But when God forgives, He forgives the most ignorant first – that is, the most remote from forgiveness – and makes, not Peter or Caiphas or the Centurion, but Dismas the thief, the first fruits of Redemption.

I. The first effect of the Divine Mercy is Enlightenment. “Before they call, I will answer.”  Before the thief feels the first pang of sorrow Grace is at work on him, and for the first time in his dreary life he begins to understand. And an extraordinary illumination shines in his soul. For no expert penitent after years of spirituality, no sorrowful saint, could have prayed more perfectly than this outcast. His intellect, perhaps, took in little or nothing of the great forces that were active about him and within him; he knew, perhaps, explicitly little or nothing of Who this was that hung beside him; yet his soul’s intuition pierces to the very heart of the mystery and expresses itself in a prayer that combines at once a perfect love, an exquisite humility, an entire confidence, a resolute hope, a clear-sighted faith, and an unutterable patience; his soul blossoms all in a moment: “Lord, remember me when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom.”  He saw the glory behind the shame, the Eternal Throne behind the Cross, and the future behind the present; and he asked only to be remembered  when the glory should transfigure the shame and the Cross be transformed into the Throne; for he understood what that remembrance would mean: Remember, Lord, that I suffered at Thy side.”

II. So perfect, then, are the dispositions formed in him by grace that at one bound the last is first.  Not even Mary and John shall have the instant reward that shall be his; for them there are other gifts, and the first are those of separation and exile. For the moment, then, this man steps into the foremost place and they who have hung side by side on Calvary shall walk side by side to meet those waiting souls beyond the veil who will run so eagerly to welcome themThis day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.”

The Last Shall Be First

III. Now this Paradox, “the last shall be first”, is an old doctrine of Christ, so startling and bewildering that He has been forced to repeat it again and again. He taught it in at least four parables: in the “parables of the Lost Piece of Silver, the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, and the Vineyard.. The Nine Pieces lie neglected on the table, the Ninety-nine sheep are exiled in the Fold, the Elder Son is, he thinks, overlooked and slighted, and the Labourers complain of favouritism. Yet still, even after all this teaching, the complaint goes up from Christians that God is too loving to be quite just. A convert, perhaps, comes into the Church in middle age and in a few months develops the graces of Saint Teresa and becomes one of her daughters. A careless black-guard is condemned to death for murder and three weeks later dies upon the scaffold the death of a saint, at the very head of the line. And the complaints seem natural enough. “Thou hast made them equal unto us who have borne the burden and heat of the day”.

Yet look again, you Elder Sons. Have your religious, careful, timid lives ever exhibited anything resembling that depth of self-abjection to which the Younger Son has attained? Certainly you have been virtuous and conscientious; after all, it would be a shame if you had not been so, considering the wealth of grace you have always enjoyed. But have you ever even striven seriously after the one single moral quality which Christ holds up in His own character as the point of imitation: “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart”.

It is surely significant that He does not say, expressly, Learn of Me to be pure, or courageous, or fervent; but “Learn to be humble”, for in this, above all, you shall find rest to your souls”.  Instead, have you not had a kind of gentle pride in your religion or your virtue or your fastidiousness? In a word, you have not been as excellent an Elder Son as your brother has been a Younger. You have not corresponded with your graces as he has corresponded with his. You have never yet been capable of sufficient lowliness to come home (which is so much harder than to remain there), or of sufficient humility to begin for the first time to work with all your heart only an hour before sunset.

Begin, then, at the beginning, not half-way up the line. Go down to the church door and beat your breast and say not, God reward me who have done so much for Him, but “God be merciful to me, who have done so little.” 

Get off your seat amongst the Pharisees and go down on your knees and weep behind Christ’s couch, if perhaps He may at last say to you, “Friend, come up higher.” (end of quote)

Dear readers, I’ve scheduled a follow-up post each day, and several extra ones, too up through Easter Sunday. After that, I am not sure whether or not I will continue. Thank you all who are reading this for your support. Yes, I do hope we can keep in touch. I value your friendship and have benefited greatly from the insights your thoughts when you’ve corresponded with me.

Thank you for reading. I pray for you always.

Pray the Rosary in reparation – so many souls depend on it.

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Palm Sunday Sermon

previously posted March 28, 2021 by evensong

Excerpts from Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Sermon for Palm Sunday


“Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied.”—Matt . 21:2.

Wishing to enter Jerusalem, to be there acknowledged as the promised Messiah sent by God for the salvation of the world, the Saviour said to his disciples: “Go to a certain village, and you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them to me.” “The ass which was tied,” says St. Bonaventure, “denotes a sinner.” This exposition is conformable to the doctrine of the Wise Man, who says, that the wicked are bound by the chains of their own sins. “His own iniquities catch the wicked, and he is fast bound with the rope of his own sins.” (Prov. 5:22.)

But, as Jesus Christ could not sit on the ass before she was loosed, so He cannot dwell in a soul bound with her own iniquities. If, then, brethren, there be among you a soul bound by any bad habit, let her attend to the admonition which the Lord addresses to her this morning. “Loose the bond from off thy neck, O captive daughter of Sion.” (Isa. 52:2.) Loose the bonds of your sins, which make you the slave of Satan. Loose the bonds before the habit of sin gains such power over you, as to render your conversion morally impossible, and thus to bring you to eternal perdition. This morning I wil l show, in three points, the evil effects of bad habits.
Continue reading “Palm Sunday Sermon”