Live More Deeply and Joyfully in the Resurrection Today
This is Part 2 of praying the Stations of the Resurrection. These are a traditional devotion for Catholics that “complement the Stations of the Cross.” While there is no formal method of praying these stations, they are intended to promote meditation for the devotee. We've included a related Scripture to each station, followed by a short meditation, and concluded with a prayer. We hope you benefit from this devotion.
Jesus Strengthens the Faith of Thomas
“Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:24-28)
St. Thomas once showed great courage when facing Jesus’ persecutors. But now, after the Resurrection, he questions all that he previously accepted as truth. I do the same. At times, I am zealous for God, other times tepid. My faith waxes and wanes like the moon.
But Jesus knows the fickle nature of my faith. He understands that my desire is to believe without seeing, to accept without hesitation, to have confidence when I pray that “all things will work together for good.” In those instances when my faith falters – when I don’t see progress in my life, when Jesus seems far away, when some mystery of the Faith is too obscure to full grasp – those are the occasions when Jesus reaches out to me and says, “Here, see that it is truly I.”
And I respond, “My Lord and my God!” Today, I pray that I might grow in this theological virtue – that what I cannot obtain by acquired faith might be infused by God’s good grace.
Jesus Appears by the Sea of Tiberias
“Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’” (John 21:5-7a)
Recently, I heard from a priest that this particular story is a faint reference to the Rosary. John tells us that the Apostles caught 153 fish in their net after they obeyed Jesus’ command. There are exactly 153 Hail Marys in the traditional 15 decades of the Rosary, plus the three in the beginning prayers. The net that could not be broken symbolizes the power of the Rosary – that one who prays it often has a potent spiritual weapon against all evil that cannot be broken.
When I pray, do I invoke the angels and saints to guide and intercede for me? After the Resurrection, Jesus was often hidden from those who knew Him. They could not see past His glorified Body, nor beyond their own spiritual limitations. I am the same. Blinded by my own sins and the many distractions of the world, I don’t always see Jesus. But the angels and saints can lead me back to Him so that I, too, will proclaim boldly, “It is the Lord.”
Jesus Forgives Peter and Commands Him to Feed his Sheep
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He then said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ [Jesus] said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’” (John 21:15-17)
Jesus often speaks to our hearts with the same message multiple times. Perhaps it’s because we missed the crux of what He is saying the first time. Maybe it’s to reiterate the importance of the message. It could also be to increase our ardor.
We know that Jesus asked St. Peter, “Do you love me?” three times in order to compensate for Peter’s threefold denial. But Jesus was asking him the same question He asks us: “Do you love me?” For some, it’s “How much do you love me?” With each exuberant “yes,” our hearts become more aware of how little we possess while also more confident in God’s never-ending mercy.
Jesus Commissions the Disciples Upon the Mountain
“The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:16-20)
The Apostles had gathered with Jesus several times at this point. They were the chosen Twelve, the ones upon whom our entire Church was founded. They worshiped together, but they also doubted while praying. Don’t we do this, too? We enter Mass with fearful and fretful hearts, bogged down with the anxieties of our lives and all the messes that make no sense to us.
As with His beloved friends, Jesus gives us an invitation, too: we are commissioned, which means we are given a specific duty to carry on the message of hope we have received through our faith in Jesus.
Can you imagine the scattering of the Apostles after they received this message from their Master? We know that each was called to evangelize different regions and peoples. We, too, scatter after Mass ends so that we can “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
The ways in which we are called to do this varies as much as the DNA of every person who’s ever existed. But our mission is a continuation of what the Apostles began, and despite our doubts and weaknesses, we must remember that Jesus is with us always, even until the end of the age.
The Ascension of Jesus
“When they had gathered together they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He answered them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Act 1:6-9)
The time for Jesus to reign in Heaven has come. The Apostles were likely afraid of how they would continue Jesus’ mission without Him in their midst. They had become accustomed to and comfortable with His Presence among them, always gently admonishing, guiding, instructing. We often ask questions when we are scared, too. We falsely believe that answers will grant us peace so that we can somehow carry certitude with us into the unknown realms that await us.
But Jesus doesn’t give the Apostles a direct answer to their question. Like us, they weren’t granted the knowledge to know “the times or seasons that the Father has established.” It’s because we are to walk by faith, not by sight. For faith to become solid and unwavering, it must be tried over and over. It becomes a choice by which we live – according to faith, not by what appears to be possible or impossible.
What makes all things possible is the Holy Spirit. He is the Paraclete, our Advocate, who brings about all good things through our meager attempts at being God’s witnesses and bringing the hope of the Resurrection to those in dire need.
Mary and the Disciples Wait in Prayer
“All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:14)
No one likes to wait. When we are forced to wait, we often respond with restlessness and anxiety. It’s a conditioned response for those of us who live in this Information Age. But God uses periods of waiting as an invitation to something deeper. Though we linger in the tension between the past and the future – that terrifying space of the unknown – waiting can potentially become a beautiful and life-changing experience.
We are told that Mary and the disciples waited in prayer. They knew this period of time was an opportunity to lift their minds and hearts to God with increasing devotion and desperation. What unfolds in a heart that learns to wait with patience and perseverance? Charity. When we learn to suffer the agony of waiting, we learn to love with greater fervor.
The Holy Spirit Descends at Pentecost
“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2: 1-4)
There are times we feel completely distant from God, as if He exists elsewhere rather than in our midst. As humans, we long for the gaze or touch of another person, but we know that isn’t likely to happen in our relationship with Jesus.
The Holy Spirit has been called “the Divine Guest” for a reason: He dwells in us permanently, as long as we are in a state of sanctifying grace. Perhaps He is then no longer our “guest” but rather our “constant companion.” He is the part of God whom Jesus left to remain with us – to uplift us when we are discouraged, to console us when we are bereaved, to guide us when we are uncertain, to grant us peace when we are anxious.
Live your anointing. Live as one who has been given this precious gift of God’s Spirit, and take care to protect and honor the indwelling of God in your heart frequently.