8th April – WEDNESDAY IN THE EASTER OCTAVE

A new devotion in the Church is called the Via Lucis (The Way of Light) or the Stations of the Resurrection. They are meditations on the Resurrection akin to the Stations of the Cross being mediations on the Passion and Death. A formatted 3 column version in pdf can be downloaded at this link https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=E43A86B816831CB5!279&authkey=!AEdcJHSydprluwI&ithint=file%2c.pdf . Alternatively the text is copied below. I feel that the mediations are best taken one a day and then repeated during Easter if beneficial.

STATIONS OF THE RESURRECTION

(Via Lucis)

Begin each station with: We adore You, O Christ and we praise You! Because by the Wood of the Cross and the Light of the Resurrection,You have redeemed the world!

FIRST: Jesus Rises from the Dead easter-resurrection-sunday-jesus-christ

“The angel of the Lord said to the women: ‘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.” (Matthew 28: 5b-6a).

On the first day of the week, at the dawning of the new creation, Jesus arose from the dead. No one saw the event, yet like the apostles, we are called to be witnesses of this central faith event. The light and power of Christ’s death and resurrection has become the pattern for our living. May we recognize Christ’s dying and rising in our midst.

This is the day, Lord God, that You have made! Raising Christ from the dead, and raising us with Christ, You have fashioned for Yourself a new people. As we hear the word that brings salvation, make our hearts burn within us. Through the presence of every friend and stranger, reveal to us the face of the One who had first to suffer, but who has entered now into glory, Jesus Christ, our Passover and our Peace, living and reigning with You, forever and ever.

SECOND: The Disciples Discover the Empty Tomb

“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20: 8).

The empty tomb was not a proof of the resurrection, but rather a silent witness of the greatest event of our faith. Seeing the empty tomb, the disciples were motivated to seek the Risen Lord at work in their midst. They saw and believed in the continuing presence of the Lord of love. All the empty and lonely places of human life are precisely where the Lord wishes to work and be revealed.

God our Father, creator of all, today is the day of overwhelming joy. The Lord appeared to those who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the Scriptures foretold: that first He must die and then rise. May the Risen Lord breathe on our minds and open our eyes that we may know Him in our everyday lives.

THIRD: Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

“She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ She thought He 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” (John 20: 14b-18).

In the fourth gospel, Mary Magdalen is given the mission to carry the good news of the resurrection to the apostles and the disciples. Mary had been in the company of Jesus and His followers, and is given the privilege to announce the hope of new life. Jesus called her by name, gave her the eyes of faith, and called her to give a unique personal witness to her friends in the faith community.

God our Father, You will that all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of Your truth. Send workers into Your great harvest that the Gospel may be preached to every creature. May Your people, gathered together by the word of life and strengthened by the power of the sacraments, advance in the way of salvation.

FOURTH: The Risen Lord Appears on the Road to Emmaus

“…while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him…. And He said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the scriptures” (Luke 24: 15, 25-27).

The Emmaus road is the story of the Christian life. These disciples were walking away from Jerusalem and the apostolic faith community in defeat and dejection. They had lost hope. We too, have moments of despair and desolation. The Risen Lord Jesus accompanies us along the road, even when we are moving in the wrong direction. Only the Lord can “break open” the Word in order to help us understand the stories of our lives, especially suffering, and read them in harmony with the pattern of the Scriptures. Only the Lord can rekindle our energy and our resolve to devote ourselves to what is most important in life.

Lord God, as disciples on our pilgrimage, we implore Jesus Christ: stay with us, Lord. Open our hearts to true conversion and, as we have known the Lord in the breaking of the bread, so make us witnesses of a new humanity, renewed, reconciled and at peace in Your love. Send us as heralds of the repentance and forgiveness You offer to all in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You, forever and ever.

FIFTH: Jesus is Recognized in the Breaking of the 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'” (Luke 24: 29-32).

The encounter on the road leads to the table, the breaking of the bread and the total gift of self. Recognition of the Risen Lord is always linked with the Eucharist. At the heart of our Christian life is this meal of Word and Eucharist which we celebrate every Sunday. The Risen Lord presides over all our journeys, wishing to set our hearts on fire in generous service to all people in need, near and far. The gift we have received is the gift we share. Humbly, we set out on the various roads of our lives to respond to all the hungers of the human family.

You are truly blessed, O God of holiness: You accompany us with love as we journey through life. Blessed too, is Your Son, Jesus Christ, who is present among us, and whose love gathers us together. As once He did for His disciples, Christ now opens the Scriptures for us and breaks the bread. May the Eucharist we celebrate guide us to the fullness of Christ’s life. We pray in the power of Christ’s Spirit, forever and ever.

SIXTH: The Risen Lord Appears to the Community of Disciples

“‘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: 38-40).

The disciples on the road to Emmaus quickly returned to the other disciples in Jerusalem with “burning hearts.” Their despair had been reversed and they were eager to convince the others that Jesus was alive. Jesus the Christ is always eager to gather the community of disciples at the table of faith and to show them that He has risen with His wounds glorified. All our wounds will one day be glorified. We seek to understand how the Risen Lord invites us to be “wounded healers,” recognizing now that the Lord desires us to be ambassadors of reconciliation, while we ourselves are being forgiven and healed.

God of unchanging power and light, look with favor and mercy on the entire community of Your Church. Bring lasting salvation to the human family, so that the world may see the fallen lifted up, the old made new, and all things brought to perfection, through Him who is our origin.

SEVENTH: Jesus Breathes Peace and Gives the Power to Forgive

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’… 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. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained'” (John 20: 19b, 20b-23).

Even though the doors of the Upper Room were bolted shut, the Risen Lord pierced through all fear and united the hearts of the disciples with the gift of peace. Deep inner peace is the root and source of the peace and joy that the world cannot give. The Risen Lord calls us to seek peace always through a non-violent commitment to conflict resolution and thus transform the world, relationship by relationship.

God of perfect peace, violence and cruelty can have no part of You. May those who are at peace with one another hold fast to the good will that unites them; may those who are enemies forgive and be healed.

EIGHT: The Risen Lord Strengthens the Faith of Thomas

“Thomas…was not with them when Jesus came…. Thomas said, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe’…Jesus came…and stood in their midst and… 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’…Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.” (John 20: 24-29).

The story of Thomas is important because it is through Thomas’ example that we realize that doubt can be a part of faith. Too easily we call him “Doubting Thomas,” and forgetting that after examining the nail marks, he fully embraced the Risen One as his Lord and Saviour. Thomas’ doubt was transformed into a lively faith. We too, are called to believe, knowing full well that our faith may be tested by doubt and fear. As disciples who desire an ever-deeper faith, we are patient and understanding with those who are searching and seeking like Thomas.

Heavenly Father and God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of life. From the waters of death You raise us up with Him and renew Your gift of life within us. Increase in our hearts the risen life we share with Christ.

NINTH: Jesus Eats with the Disciples on the Shore of Tiberias

“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you just caught.’ So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come, have breakfast.’ ” (John 21: 10-12).

After the crucifixion, the apostles returned to their former way of life. Out on the familiar Sea of Galilee, these expert fishers find themselves ineffective and baffled because not even a single fish was caught. From the shore, the Risen Lord guides them and directs their nets until they are filled to overflowing. He nourishes their hearts and promises them that they can also be fed by making disciples in His name.

Father in heaven, author of all truth, a people once in darkness has listened to Your Word and followed Your Son as He rose from the tomb. Hear the prayer of this newborn people and strengthen Your Church to answer Your call. May we rise and come forth into the light of day to stand in Your presence until eternity dawns

TENTH: Jesus Forgives Peter and Entrusts 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?’… Peter was distressed that Jesus 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…. Follow Me’ ” (John 21: 15, 17b, 19b).

The Risen Lord directs His attention to Peter whose embarrassing three-fold denial was still ringing in his heart. The questions posed by Jesus help Peter to find reconciliation and to embrace his new mission to tend and feed the sheep. Their encounter reminds us that forgiveness is always available, even for the most serious of mistakes we can make. This warm embrace of forgiveness strengthens our resolve to be reconcilers and healers in the Spirit of Jesus. Only love and forgiveness can overcome guilt and deception and make us whole.

Father, fill our hearts with the fire of Your love and the desire to ensure justice for our brothers and sisters. By sharing the good things You give us, may we secure justice and equality for every human being, an end to all division, and a human society built on love and peace.

ELEVENTH: The Risen Lord Sends the Disciples into the World

“‘Go therefore, and make disciples of all the 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: 19-20).

From the mountaintop, the Risen Lord gives the “Great Commission” to the disciples to reach out to the ends of the earth. We realize that we are the recipients of this faith-filled mission: our ancestors embraced the faith of the apostles, who were the original witnesses of the resurrection. The greatest response we can give to such a legacy is our dedication to a new evangelization of our contemporary culture. God of all creation, whose mighty power raised Jesus from the dead, be present to this community of disciples whom You have called to the hope of a glorious inheritance among the saints. Strengthen us in the power of the Spirit to go and make disciples of all nations, to obey everything that Jesus Christ has commanded us, and to know that He is with us always until the end of the age, interceding on our behalf.

TWELFTH: The Risen Lord Ascends into Heaven

“So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mark 16: 19-20).

The Scriptures do not portray the Ascension as a day of sadness. While still looking up at the skies, the disciples were consoled by the continuing presence of the Lord. They return to the familiar surroundings of the Upper Room, with Mary, the mother of the Lord, to pray in anticipation of their mission. In this “original novena,” we continue to implore the Risen Lord to be the center of our lives too.

Eternal God, clothe us now with Your power. With the eyes of our hearts enlightened, may we come to understand the immeasurable greatness of Your power at work in us who believe. In that strength, may we boldly pronounce the Good News of our salvation to everyone.

THIRTEENTH: Mary and the Disciples Wait for the Spirit’s Advent

“When they entered the city, they went to the upper room where they were staying…. All [the apostles] devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1: 13a, 14).

Throughout the history of the Church, there have been apostolic movements dedicated to prayerful contemplation, and others resulting in transforming action. As we have crossed the threshold into a new millennium, we look to the “Upper Room” as a symbolic place where we return over and over again, so that we can become “contemplatives in action.” As persons who are both prayerful and energetic in service to the Gospel, we must always keep vigil for the advent of the Risen Lord, with the flame of faith alive in our hearts. Only the Lord can refresh our spirits and renew us in the ministries that flow from our Baptism and Confirmation.

Father most holy, see Your Church gathered here in prayerful worship like the first disciples and Mary in the Upper Room. Grant that we may accomplish, in the joy of the Holy Spirit, all that You give us to do.

FIFTEENTH: The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit

“… Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house. 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: 2-4). The power of the Holy Spirit compels them to take the message everywhere, in places familiar and unfamiliar, not stopping until they reach the ends of the world. We have been clothed with the same Spirit. We are called to be evangelizers and witnesses, near and far, wherever we go. The Spirit always goes before us, preparing the way and strengthening our hearts to be generous servants of the Risen Lord who ever guides us. Pentecost is an enduring and continuing event. Father in heaven, through this spiritual journey, You have reminded us of the fullness of the mystery of Your revealed love. See Your people gathered in prayer, open to receive the Spirit’s flame. May it come to rest in our hearts and disperse the divisions of word and tongue. With one voice and one song, may we praise Your name in thanksgiving.

© Archdiocese of Detroit. (Abridged). Used with Permission.

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