He Is Risen, Alleluia!

(Excerpts from Pope Pius XII’s 1941 Easter message)

Here below we are all exiles and wanderers; our true citizenship, which is limitless, is in Heaven, in eternity, in God. If worldly hopes have bitterly deluded you, remember that hope in God never fails or deceives. You must make one resolve-not to allow yourself to be induced, either by your sad lot or by the malice of men to waver in your allegiance to Christ.

Prosperity and adversity are part and parcel of man’s earthly existence; but what is of the utmost importance, and We say it with St. Augustine, is the use that is made of what is called prosperity or adversity. For the virtuous man is neither exalted by worldly well-being nor humbled by temporal misfortune; the evil man on the other hand, being corrupted in prosperity, is made to suffer in adversity.

To all of you who are walking so sadly along this way… who are called upon to bear the burden of these merciless and bitter days-whatever be your origin, language, race, social condition or profession-all you upon whom the seal of suffering for Christ is stamped so clearly, a sign no less of suffering than of glory, as it was to the great Apostle Paul; you are numbered among those privileged intimates who are nearest to the Cross of Calvary and by this very fact nearest also to the pierced Heart of Christ and to Our own.

Oh that We were able to make you appreciate how profoundly Our heart has been pierced by the cry of the Apostle of the Gentiles “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” (Second Corinthians 11:29). The sacrifices you are called upon to make, your suffering in mind and body, your concern for your own faith and still more for the faith of your children, We are aware of them, We share them with you, We lament them before God.

And yet withal, on this day We greet you with joyful Alleluia; for it is the day of Christ’s triumph over His crucifiers, open and secret, ancient and modern. We convey that greeting to you with the voice and confidence with which, even in the days of the persecution, the early Christians exultantly sang that Alleluia. Perhaps you do not recall the words of Our Lord to Martha: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me shall not die forever” (John II: 25:26).

The certainty they were assuring themselves of resurrection made of martyrs heroes of Christ and faithful unto death. You enjoy that same certainty. Imitate them and with the greatest Prophet of the New and Eternal Testament raise your eyes to that Heavenly Jerusalem where Christ gloriously reigns and rules and while rewarding His good and faithful servants proclaims the mystery and splendor of their triumph in the shining whiteness of their garments, in the indelible inscription of their names in the Book of Life and decreeing that they be exalted before His Father and the Heavenly Court, with admirable words which you in your perilous trials must never forget: “He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Apocalypse 3: 5).

Beloved sons and daughters! Jesus Christ, “Prince of Kings on earth, Who hath loved us and washed us from our sin in His Own blood” (Apocalypse 1:5), raise your eyes while, as pledge of that heavenly peace which He alone can give to us and which We implore of Him in super-abundant measure for all humanity, May Christ protect and keep you in His grace and love.

Wishing a blessed Easter to all of our readers !

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