Tree TunnelWas the Resurrection the great Sign promised by Jesus?

If it was, one would expect most people to have believed it. And one would expect that Jesus would have appeared to Caiphas, the Sanhedrin and Pilate. But no one actually saw the Resurrection and the Risen Christ only appeared to his disciples.

Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to anoint the body of Jesus found the tomb empty. Jesus had said, that ‘she, who loved much had been forgiven much.’ And Jesus appeared first to her. She believed that it was Jesus who appeared to her and called her by name. Love for Jesus opened the eyes of her soul. She believed that Jesus who had suffered a terrible passion and death, was the one who appeared to her in the Garden. Love nourished her faith. She believed as a response to God’s love.

The Resurrection is the great sign of Christ’s divinity, but no one actually saw the resurrection. It is a hidden sign. They saw Christ after the resurrection. Jesus had foretold that he would rise on the third day. Destroy this temple and I will rebuild in three days.

He had also told his fellow Jews No sign will be given you except for the sign of Jonah.

Blessed Newman explains:

“Now what is remarkable in this passage is this, that our Lord promised a great sign parallel to those wrought by the old prophets; yet instead of being public as theirs was, it was in the event, like Jonah’s, a secret sign. Few saw it; it was to be received by all, but on faith; it was addressed to the humble and lowly. When it took place, and St. Thomas refused to believe without sight, our Lord said to him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they {107} that have not seen, and yet have believed.” The Apostle, perhaps, might have been arguing, “If this be the Lord’s great Sign, surely it is to be seen. What is meant by the resurrection but an evidence which is to be addressed to my senses? I have to believe, and this is to assure my belief.” Yet St. Thomas would have been more blessed, had he believed Christ’s miraculous Presence without seeing it; and our Lord implied that such persons there would be” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol 6).

 The Resurrection was a Great Sign, but it was not evidence in the way that we speak of evidence. St. Paul teaches us that we walk by faith not by sight. The Resurrection, the greatest of miracles, demands like the other miracles of Christ our adherence of faith.

Newman comments on another sign promised by Jesus:

“There was another occasion on which the Jews asked for a sign, and on which our Lord answered by promising one, not to His Apostles only, but in continuance, like the manifestation He speaks of, to all His faithful followers. And it was a sign not more sensible or palpable, not less the object of faith as regards the many, than that sign of His resurrection which He gave once for all. He had just before been feeding five thousand men with five barley loaves and two small fishes; when, not contented with this, the Jews said, “What sign showest Thou, that we may see and believe Thee? What dost Thou work?” and they proceeded to refer to the “sign from heaven,” which Moses had given them. “Our Fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” It was a little thing, they seemed to say, to multiply bread, but it was a great thing to send down bread from heaven,—a great thing, when the nature of the creature was changed, and men were made to live by the word of the Lord. Was the Son of man able to give them bread such as this? Yes, surely, He had a Sign,—a Sign from heaven, more wonderful, a fearful Sign, surpassing thought and surpassing sight too, addressed to faith only, but not the less true because it was hidden. Moses gave their {111} fathers bread from heaven; they saw it, ate it, and were dead; His sign was greater. He was Himself the Bread from heaven under the Gospel, and the Bread of life.”

Christ gave signs, but the signs were understood by faith. And besides the Resurrection the greatest sign was another hidden sign: The Holy Eucharist.

Often we are without faith like the disciples in the Upper Room. Jesus asks us to have faith, to believe in Him and his promise: that He would rise on the third Day and that He would remain with us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The Resurrection is a mystery beyond our comprehension yet we know from Scripture that Christ’s risen body is a glorious or spiritual body. St. Luke narrates Our Lord’s appearance to the disciples in the Upper Room: [37] But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. [38] And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? [39] See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” [41] And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” [42] They gave him a piece of broiled fish, [43] and he took it and ate before them. Lk 24

At first the disciples would not believe that it was Jesus. He had to eat fish for them to believe that it was really He. Jesus told them not to be troubled and believe in him. Jesus asked them to believe what He had foretold; He asked the disciples to have faith.

Belief in the Resurrection requires an act of faith. Jesus told the Apostle Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” St. John explains how Thomas was not present on Easter Sunday, and not seeing the Risen Lord did not believe.

The Gospel continues: Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”[27] Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” 28] Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” [29] Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Commenting on this St. Josemaria Escriva writes:

Faith helps us recognize that Christ is God; it shows that he is our saviour; it brings us to identify ourselves with him and to act as he acted. When the risen Christ frees the apostle Thomas from his doubts, showing him his wounds, Jesus exclaims: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” And St Gregory the Great comments that “he is referring in particular to us, for we possess spiritually him whom we have not seen in the body. He is referring to us, provided our behaviour agrees with our faith. A person does not truly believe unless he puts into practice what he believes. That is why St Paul says of those whose faith is limited to words: They profess recognition of God, but in their behaviour they deny him” (Christ is Passing By).

Tell Our Lord that you wish to live by love and faith. Ask him to increase your love and faith in Him: faith as a response to his love and to his promises. The Resurrection is indeed the Great Sign, but it is not evidence; it calls for our faith in Christ.

The Virgin Mary was a woman of faith! She believed her Son would rise on the third day as He had promised. Although she has suffered the bitter pain of his passion she expected his resurrection.

 

 

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The world which sees only appearances cannot comprehend the hidden reality of a heart captive to Christ. 

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

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In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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