“Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.”
Are there any who are devout lovers of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Are there any who are grateful servants? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends. Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
The grave took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, born at Antioch, c. 347; died at Commana in Pontus, 14 September, 407.
Jesus loves us, is on our side. If He is for us, who can be against us? So we carry on through all manner of troubles in this life, knowing that, if only we persevere, He will see us to the wonderful goal, which is the Beatific Vision of God. Psalm 103:
“He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor requite us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
so the Lord pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
— Christ’s Victory Over Death & Postmodern Despair
St. Francis de Sales:
“The persons for whom I write are those only who are determined not to commit any fault deliberately, though many stumble through surprise, inadvertence, and weakness, notwithstanding their resolution.
It usually happens that such persons are astonished and troubled at their faults, conceive a false shame for them, and fall into vexation and discouragement. These are the effects of self-love, and are much more pernicious than the faults themselves. We are surprised at falling: an evident mark that we scarcely know ourselves. We ought, on the contrary, to be surprised at not falling more frequently, and into more grievous faults, and to return thanks to God for the dangers from which He preserves us. We are troubled every time that we are beguiled into some fault, lose interior peace, are agitated, and spend hours, even days, thinking of it.
We should never be troubled; but when we find ourselves on the ground, arise tranquilly, return to God with love, ask His forgiveness, and reflect no more on what has occurred, unless when it is necessary to accuse ourselves of it.
We have a false shame for our faults; we can hardly venture to discover them to our confessor. “What idea will he have of me after so many promises, so many assurances, I have given him?”
If you declare your faults simply and humbly, he will have more esteem for you. If you have a difficulty in telling them to him, his confidence in you will diminish on account of your want of sincerity.
But the worst of all is that we are vexed at being vexed, and impatient at being impatient. What a misery! Should we not see that this is pride, that we are humbled on finding ourselves less holy than we had imagined, that we aspire to be exempt from imperfections and faults only in order to applaud and congratulate ourselves on having spent one day or week without much matter of reproach?
In fine, we are discouraged; we abandon our exercises one by one; we give up prayer; we regard perfection as impossible, and despair of arriving at any such height. What will this constraint, we say, this continual watching over oneself, this struggle after recollection and mortification, avail us, since we correct nothing, fall incessantly, and never become better?
There is not a craftier snare of the demon than this. Would you wish to be protected from it? Never be discouraged, and no matter what fault you happen to commit, say:
Though I should fall twenty times, or a hundred times, a day, I will arise at every fall, and pursue my course. What does it amount to, after all, that you should have met with some accidents on the way, provided you safely reach the journey’s end? God will not reproach you after your recovery.”
— From Consoling Thoughts on Trials of an Interior Life” by St. Francis de Sales
— Catholic Apologist Trent Horn’s reply to a Rabbi’s objection to Christ’s resurrection