Easter Monday

We are now in a week of Sundays: every day in this Easter Octave is a Feast, like Sunday. And even Friday will be a Feast. In the olden days (rather older than the time just before Vatican II), those baptized at Easter were present at each daily Mass, in white robes, symbol of their new estate. At Rome, they appeared each day at the stational church, today at Saint Peter’s — below the altar of which they knew was Peter’s tomb. (And since the 1950s, the archaeologists have known this, too.) For Peter was the first Apostle to whom Our Lord appeared in His new estate: Risen!

Tomorrow it will be at Saint Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls, on Easter Wednesday at Saint Laurence’s, and so forth. The people move, the message is repeated. In the Old Mass, the Gradual is memorably the same, every day of this week. It is from Psalm 117:

Haec dies, quam fecit Dominus. … “This is the day which the Lord hath made. … Rejoice and be glad in it! …

“Let those again speak who have been redeemed by Our Lord: whom He hath redeemed out of the hand of the Enemy, and gathered out of the nations.”

That Enemy is as one mortally wounded, who does not yet know how serious is his case. “It was just a scratch,” he will be snarling. And he will not know better, because he can’t know better, having put himself intentionally beyond the reach of Christ. Satan thought he had killed Christ, in that consequential duel. But no, God Is Not Dead. And in the interval from the Cross, He has descended into the pit of Hell — into Satan’s own lair.

Let us make no apology for standing by the “traditional” (i.e. non-heretical) Catholic teaching. It has not been peace-love-groovy down here: this is not a Church for the smug and quisling. This is not, and has never been, nor can she ever become, a “church of nice.”

She is the Church of redemption, and salvation. She is Christ’s own, and therefore not “inclusive” in any liberal sense.

With God, all things are possible, but: you are with us or against us.

Christ made this perfectly plain, again and again: go, and actually read the Gospels. It was not “peace on earth” that he brought, but “the peace beyond all understanding.” He states this explicitly. Those who deny it are lying: even and especially those “nice” priests, who lie from the pulpit to make us feel good about ourselves. (“They have their reward.”) For they are preaching the opposite of what Christ preached.

Compare, as I was recently reminded, the Venerable Fulton Sheen who, like a Catholic Churchill, nailed these liberal lies and impostures in the 1930s, under titles Internet-searchable today, such as, “The Curse of Broadmindedness,” and, “A Plea for Intolerance.”

Christ came to liberate, through forgiveness, those who confess their sins; not those who persist in self-satisfaction. He came with a Love that must be requited. And He came as to a theatre of battle; to a world at war.

There is War in Heaven, and there is War on Earth, and Jesus did not come to negotiate. For the purpose of War is not negotiation; its purpose is Victory. Christ did not come to negotiate: He came instead to liberate, and save. For life on this planet is like a field hospital, we are told; but even more, it is like a camp for prisoners of war.

Indeed, we are approaching that rather worldly three-score-and-ten: the seventieth anniversary of the event which has served for an analogy, since. At the end of this month, we will recall the initials, “VE.” We will recall, for instance, Hitler’s final exemplary act of “euthanasia,” like that of Judas. It was the final lie he told himself, the final denial of the Life Everlasting: that he could, simply by killing himself, escape the consequences of what he had done; that he could kill the pain.

(Czesław Miłosz: “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death: the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”)

But for now, through twenty centuries, the news has been spreading. It has been spreading through the camp, as did the news of the Normandy landings. And we may be prisoners yet, but the Allies are on their way. The Saints are on their way. And by word of mouth the Word is spreading, through the camp, and from camp to camp. And, “the lights are coming on again, all over the world.” And we don’t feel like prisoners any more. Because even if we should die, ourselves, at the hands of our brutal guards, we are no longer prisoners. The guards have tried to kill our souls, but our souls are Alive, forevermore.

Raise this, now; raise the stakes to the highest cosmic level: “That you will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free.”