Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Easter

The Easter Mysteries and the Quest for True Knighthood

One of my favorite topics is chivalry within Catholicism. Father Angelo Mary Geiger’s of the Franciscan Friars of  the Immaculate has created the Maryvictrix blog devoted to this topic.  Below is a sample of one of my favorite posts.  I encourage you to start here and keep going on his site.  Gentlemen, paying attention?

How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival were Fed with the Sanc Grael; But Sir Percival's Sister Died by the Way 1864, a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Some time ago, I wrote that the Holy Grail of True Knighthood is constituted by the inversion of worldly values and the assimilation of the foolishness of God, which is wiser than the wisdom of men.  There is a real sense in which true knighthood is itself the Holy Grail.  The ideals of Marian Chivalry are so high because it is the knighthood of Jesus Christ Himself, and so paradoxical because in practice a fighting spirit is hard to synthesize with courtesy.

Within and Without

The Holy Grail is both within and without.  In The Mystery of Faith, which is first of all the Eucharist itself and then our own participation in it, we must profess our faith in the most sublime reality of God (the Eucharist) and then conform ourselves to it interiorly (worthy and fruitful communion).  The Mystery of Faith is both the stupendous reality of transubstantiation and our own transformation in Christ.  So for true Knight the Holy Grail is first of all the attainment of the Vessel of the Eucharist and the Eucharist itself and then it is that enclosed space within one’s soul where the virtues of chivalry live and thrive unthreatened by the warfare of this world.

For good reason, then, even if within the tradition there are so many pagan elements, the legends surrounding the Holy Grail go right to the heart of the Easter Mystery.  In the most Christian version of the story, The Quest del Saint Graal, there are three manifestations of the Holy Grail.

To read the rest of this first class post….click here.

Divine Mercy and the Doubting Thomas

Pontifical Household Preacher on the Doubting Thomas

ROME , APRIL 25, 2006 (Zenit) – Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pontifical Household preacher, on the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter.

“Unless I Place My Hand in His Side, I Will Not Believe”  (John 20:19-31)

Caravaggio (1602-1603): Doubting Thomas

“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.’ 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.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.'”

With the emphasis on the incident of Thomas and his initial incredulity (“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, I will not believe”), the Gospel addresses the man of the technological age who believes only what he can verify. Among the apostles, we can call Thomas our contemporary.

St. Gregory the Great says that, with his incredulity, Thomas was more useful to us than all the other apostles who believed right away. Acting in this way, so to speak, he obliged Jesus to give us a “tangible proof of the truth of his resurrection.” Faith in the resurrection benefited by his doubts. This is true, at least in part, when applied to the numerous “Thomases” of today who are the nonbelievers.

The criticism of nonbelievers and dialogue with them, when carried out in respect and reciprocal loyalty, are very useful to us. Above all they make us humble. They oblige us to take note that faith is not a privilege or an advantage for anyone. We cannot impose it or demonstrate it, but only propose it and show it with our life. “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” says St. Paul (1 Corinthians 4:7). In the end, faith is a gift, not a merit, and as all gifts it can only be lived in gratitude and humility.

Peter Paul Rubens (1613-1615): Doubting Thomas

The relationship with nonbelievers also helps us to purify our faith of clumsy representations. Very often what nonbelievers reject is not the true God, the living God of the Bible, but his double, a distorted image of God that believers themselves have contributed to create. Rejecting this God, nonbelievers oblige us to go back to the truth of the living and true God, who is beyond all our representations and explanations, and not to fossilize or trivialize him.

But there is also a wish to be expressed: that St. Thomas might find today many imitators not only in the first part of his story — when he states he does not believe — but also at the end, in that magnificent act of faith that leads him to exclaim: “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas is also imitable because of another fact. He does not close the door; he does not remain in his position, considering the problem resolved once and for all. In fact, we find him eight days later with the other apostles in the Cenacle. If he had not wished to believe, or to “change his opinion,” he would not have been there. He wants to see, to touch: Therefore, he is searching. And at the end, after he has seen and touched with his hand, he exclaims to Jesus, not as someone defeated but as victorious: “My Lord and my God!” No other apostle had yet gone out to proclaim Christ’s divinity with so much clarity.

Bright Week

The Resurrected Christ Appears to the Virgin Guercino (1591-1666)

“The eight-day week beginning with Easter and ending the following Sunday is one of the octaves kept by the Church.  It is traditional to consider the octave day as belonging to the feast, so that Easter would last eight days, including two Sundays: Easter itself (the high feast) and the following Sunday (the “low” one, thus low Sunday).  It was once common practice for those who had been baptized during the year, especially those initiated at the Easter Vigil, to wear white clothes to Mass during the octave.  In fact, this symbolic clothing of the neophytes inspired all members of the faith community to, clothed in Christ, to celebrate this grace by wearing new clothes at Easter.  With everyone called to rise and shine, it is no wonder that the Easter octave was called Bright Week.“[1]

In the Eastern Church, each day is considered “Bright” because of the luminous glory of the Christ’s resurrection.  During this week, the entire Psalter is prayed and the Liturgies are identical to Easter – with a few minor changes.


[1] Klein, Rev. Peter, The Catholic Source Book (Harcourt Religion Publishers, 2000) p. 341