Experience the Joy of the Resurrection More Completely
Known also as the Via Lucis, the Stations of the Resurrection are a traditional devotion for Catholics that “complement the Stations of the Cross.”There is no formal method of praying these stations, though they are intended to promote meditation for the devotee. Typically, the format includes a related Scripture to each station, followed by a short meditation, and concluded with a prayer.
One can consider the Via Lucis a completion of true devotion to Jesus, because we are a Resurrection people. Our faith is incomplete without contemplating the incredible mystery, gift, and fulfillment of the Father’s promise by resurrecting His Son. Therefore, it’s fitting to continue our journey into the Easter season by pondering – with immense gratitude to God – the joy immersed in these Stations.
Jesus is Raised from the Dead
“Then the angel said to the women in reply, ‘Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’” (Matthew 28:5-6)
Lent has ended, and it is indeed Easter – a new chance, new beginning, new way of living. This is the Easter invitation. In order for us to become new creations in Christ, we must maintain a somber and penitential life.
We rejoice, but we remain humble in our nothingness, always seeking the glory of God above our own. We seek Him Who saves, and this creates room for us to pause at the mystery of joy coexisting with suffering. All of life is bittersweet. Today, we bask in joy.
The Finding of the Empty Tomb
“When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” (John 20:6-9)
So much of the spiritual life is enshrouded in mystery. The Apostles were with Jesus His entire earthly ministry, yet they were baffled about the concept of the Savior being crucified and risen. It seemed impossible to them, even as much as it does to many of us today.
What does it mean to have faith? I think about the Blessed Mother watching the stone being rolled in front of Jesus’ burial tomb on Good Friday. She was deeply sorrowful, yes, yet she always possessed perfect virtue. This means her peace was not the least disturbed. Instead, she kept perfect belief that what appeared to be hopeless was, in fact, hopeful.
She is the perfect example of dwelling in the midst of the mysteries of life with perfect confidence that God will bring about all things new in His time.
Mary Magdalene Meets the Risen Jesus
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, ‘Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and what he told her.” (John 20:15-18)
We weep for what we fear we’ve lost, for the mysterious ways love is taken from us. Our attachments are revealed through the constant breaking of our hearts. So we weep.
We weep for all that we seek and yet find elusive, for regrets over past sins and failings, over what we don’t understand but long to know. Our hearts must be broken open – not a wound that hurts and damages, but by a Wound that heals.
If we did not have the capacity to love, we wouldn’t weep. We weep, because we love.
Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus
“Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing as you walk along?’” (Luke 24:13-17)
The Emmaus journey is a universal one. It speaks to us regardless of where we might be on our spiritual path – at the beginning, when our longing is uncomfortable and often unrecognizable; in the middle, when we are confused about what we think we know about Jesus; or toward the end, when suddenly everything falls into place and our hearts are consumed with this zeal for the Living Bread, the Bread of Life, the only true nourishment for both body and soul.
Jesus is Known in the Breaking of Bread
“And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:30-32)
The Eucharist opens the eyes of our hearts to recognize Jesus, to see truth, to understand reality. The Emmaus story reminds us that Jesus is always in our midst, veiling Himself at times – especially hiding in the Tabernacles of the world – but always present. He reveals Himself through detailed questions or thoughts that probe our hearts so that they burn with the fire of Divine Charity. Thus, we have a greater thirst for Him.
Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem
“While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’” (Luke 24:36-39)
Sometimes what hurts also heals. My wounds are from sin, but the beautiful Wounds of Jesus are unblemished. We venerate them. We are humbled by them. We stand in awe of His beautiful brokenness, offered that we might one day find healing and wholeness.
Scars remind us of where we’ve been but not who we are now. Jesus retained the scars from His Passion to remind the whole world that while wounds do not define us, they are visible signs of our suffering. Jesus’ scars accompany the question, “Why are you troubled?” We don’t have to be restless when we stand in His resurrected presence. Everything we need to know Jesus carries on the marks of His body.
We worship His Wounds and have hope because of His scars.
Jesus Gives the Disciples his Peace and the Power to Forgive Sins
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit.’” (John 20:19-22)
If there is a central message of every story pertaining to the Resurrection, it is this: Jesus bestows peace upon everyone He encounters. Thus, He grants us access to this peace always. The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, breathes this spiritual fruit into our hearts when we need it most.
Sometimes peace settles upon our souls as a quiet, gentle presence – unheeded, but much-needed. There have been times in my own life when the “peace that surpasses all understanding” became my lifeline. Peace fortifies us. Peace renews our joy. Peace clarifies what has become muddled by worry and resentment.
It is precisely this Divine Peace that accompanies us so that we can go forth and share the beauty of the Resurrection to a world that does not know God.