**Easter/Pascha meditations from Catholic Bishop Challoner this week…

ONSIDER, first, that the soul of our dear Redeemer immediately
after his death descended into the lower parts of the
earth, to visit and comfort the spirits of the just, and to change
their prison by his presence into a paradise of delights. How
happy and how joyful a day was this to all the patriarchs and
prophets! How glorious was the sight of his triumph over the
powers of darkness, and the near prospect of eternal bliss,
from which they had been so long excluded by the sin of our
first parents. The Jews in the mean while, secure the monument,
and place guards to prevent, as they say, the disciples
from stealing away the body of our Saviour. This malicious
industry of theirs only serves to put our Lord’s resurrection beyond
dispute. For “there is no wisdom; there is no prudence;
there is no counsel against the Lord,” (Prov. xxi. 30.)
Consider, secondly, that early in the morning on Easter
Sunday, being the third day, appointed by the scriptures for
our Lord’s resurrection, his soul returns in triumph into his sacred
body; imparts to it a new and immortal life, and clothes
it with all the glorious qualities decreed for the bodies of the
saints, in a super-eminent degree : and so brings it forth without
resistance through the monument, hewn in a rock, and
covered with a very great stone, unperceived by the guards,
who were not worthy to see him in this glorious state. Yet,

that they and all the world might know he was risen indeed,
they felt a great earthquake; and an angel visibly descending
from heaven, removed the stone which covered the entrance of
the monument, and sat down upon it. The guards hecame as
dead men.; and when they recovered from their swoon, they ran
into the city, publishing the wonders they had seen; till

Prayer:  Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life!


“Christ was delivered up to death for our
sins; and rose again for our justification.” For his rising from
the dead was to be the model of our resurrection from the death
of sin. We must therefore imitate our Lord’s resurrection by
rising verily and indeed, and not in appearance only. Alas!
how many at Easter pretend to rise again with Christ, by frequenting
the sacraments according to the custom of Christians
at this season; but do not rise again in reality, because they do
not heartily renounce their sins.
Consider, secondly, that when Christ rose again from the
dead, he presently quitted his monument, and retained nothing
at all of death; to teach us, that if we would rise with him to
the purpose, we must also quit our winding-sheets, and all the
appurtenances of death; by renouncing bad company and the
dangerous occasions of sin, and by breaking the force of all
former bad habits, and striving to fix our affections in heaven.
“If you be risen with CHRIST, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the
things that are above,

Prayer:  O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

[first] our Lord was pleased to comfort his
“blessed mother and his afflicted disciples, by appearing to them
immediately after his resurrection. As to his Messed mother,
though the gospel is silent, we cannot doubt but she was favored
with an early visit; that as she loved him most, and partook
more than any other in the sorrows of his passion, so she
might also in the joy of his resurrection. The good women,
who went early in the morning to the monument, to perfume
the body of our Lord, were likewise favored first, with a
vision of angels, and then with the sight of Christ himself.
They had been at a loss how to get the stone removed from the
monument; for it was “exceeding great :” but on their arrival,
it was already removed to their hands : to teach us, that if we
continue constant in our good resolutions, God will take away
the obstacles we apprehend, or enable us to surmount them.
Consider, secondly, that our dear Redeemer, to encourage
penitent sinners, honored Magdalene amongst women, and
Peter amongst men, with his first visits. Magdalene, from the
time of her conversion, had constantly attended our Lord : she
followed him even to the cross; and after the repose of the
sabbath, she was up before light, and was the first at the monument,
with her perfumes. When she found him not, she
hastened to tell the apostles, that the body was taken away.
Peter and John, on their arrival, finding only the linen cloths
without the body, returned : but Magdalene staid behind, weeping
and lamenting that she could not find HIM whom her soul
loved till at length she saw his heavenly messengers, and
shortly after HIMSELF in person; and was sent by him as an
apostle to the apostles

Prayer:  Holy angel of the Lord by guardian, pray to God for me.

Peter, who, from his fall, had continually
hewailed his misfortune, was the first among the apostles,
favored with the sight of our Lord, (1 Cor. xv. 5., and
Luke xxiv. 34.) He was struck with the most lively sentiments
of repentance for his crime, mixed with a holy joy at
the sight of his divine master, now risen from the dead; and
was by him most tenderly received to mercy. Moreover, to
show the unspeakahle bounty of our Lord to repenting sinners,
a little while after (John xxi.) he was pleased to advance him
to the supreme pastoral charge over all his flock, and to promise
him the glory of following 1dm, even to the death of the
cross all in consequence of that ardent love, of which he
thrice required the profession, [“lovest thou me more than
these?] in opposition to his three denials.
Conclude, if ever you have denied your Saviour by word or
deed, to return now to him by repentance and love; and
“though your sins be as red as scarlet, they shall be made
white as snow,” (Isa. i. 18.)

Prayer:  Our Father, Who art in  Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

CONSIDER, first, that while two of the disciples, on the day
of our Lord’s resurrection, were discoursing together concerning
him, on their way to Emmaus, he overtook them in the
way, and joined their company. After reprimanding their
doubts and slowness of belief, he explained to them the scriptures
relating to his passion and resurrection, and enkindled in
their hearts the fire of devotion. We see in this instance the
great advantage of pious conversation, such especially as has
Christ for its subject : it even draws him down from heaven
into our company.
Consider, secondly, that these disciples, who took him for a
traveler, at length “knew him in the breaking of bread” to
teach us that there is no better way to attain the perfect knowledge
and love of God, than a worthy

Prayer:  Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life!

…on the evening of the same day of the
resurrection, the disciples being assembled together, with the
doors shut for fear of the Jews, our Saviour came in,
stood in the midst of them, and said: peace be to you.” Then
he showed them the wounds of his hands, and feet, and side.
Admire the qualities of his glorious body, which like a spirit
passes through the doors, and yet shows itself to be true and
palpable flesh. Christians now no longer feel their Saviour’s
wounds, like Thomas; nor lodge their hand in his side : but
they have him still no less really present with them in the
eucharist. Let this suffice: “Blessed are they that have not
seen, and have believed,” (John xx. 29.)
Consider, secondly, that after our Lord had said again to his
disciples; “peacebe to you : as my Father hath sent me, I also
send you, “breathing upon them he said : “Receive ye the
Holy Ghost; whose sins your shall forgive they are forgiven
unto them; and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.”
See how ample is this authority, which he imparts to his apostles
and their lawful successors, the pastors of his true church.
As his Heavenly Father sent him, even so. he sends them, furnished
with all spiritual power for the rule of his Church, and
the ministry of his word and of the sacraments. To them he
has given the keys of the

Prayer:  Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)

CONSIDER, first, the nature of that peace, which our blessed
Saviour so repeatedly bequeathed to his disciples. It is not
that peace which the world pretends to give; false and deceitful
like itself : but the “peace of God which surpasseth all
understanding,” ( Philip, iv. 7. ) A threefold peace, with God,
with our neighbor, and within ourselves. Whosoever desires
any degree of happiness either here or hereafter, must keep an
inviolable peace with God. For how can there be any peace
of mind or solid content, where this is wanting? “”Who hath
resisted God and hath had peace,” (Job ix. 4. ) “There is no
peace for the wicked, saith the Lord God,” (Isai. Ivii. 21.)
Consider, secondly, that as without charity for all mankind
there can be no true love of God; so if we do not “follow
peace with all men,” (Heb. xii. 14.) and endeavor to “keep
peace with all men,” (Rom. xii. 18.) we cannot be at peace
with God. We must therefore avoid all animosity and rancor,
all discord and contention, all malice and envy; bear with patience
every provocation , and overcome evil with good. How
amiable is this character of the peaceable Christian!
Consider, thirdly, that, in order to be at peace with ourselves,
we must have our affections well regulated, and our inordinate
desires restrained : we must banish all excessive
eagerness; all sadness and melancholy; scrupulous fears, anxieties
and uneasiness about the things of the world; and conform
ourselves in all things to the holy will of God. Practice
these lessons, my soul, and thou shalt enjoy a solid peace.

Christ is risen….truly He is risen!