• The Resurrection

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    The Resurrection

    One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and
    appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing
    else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people
    radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the
    central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy
    Spirit, the Lord gives us "eyes of faith" to know him and the power of
    his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the
    living Lord and to know him personally. Do you celebrate the feast of
    Easter with joy and thanksgiving for the victory which Jesus has won
    for you over sin and death?

    26 April – Saint Paschasius Radbertus

     Monk, Abbot, Theologian: born 785 at Soissons, France and died in 865
    of natural causes. St Paschasius was a Carolingian theologian and the
    abbot of Corbie, a monastery in Picardy founded in 657 or 660 by the
    queen regent Bathilde with a founding community of monks from Luxeuil
    Abbey. His most well-known and influential work is an exposition on
    the nature of the Eucharist written around 831, entitled De Corpore et
    Sanguine Domini.

    Paschasius was an orphan left on the steps of the convent of
    Notre-Dame de Soissons. He was raised by the nuns there and became
    very fond of the abbess, Theodrara. Theodrara was sister of St Adalard
    of Corbie (C 751-827) and St Wala of Corbie (c 755–836), two monks
    (and both abbots prior to Paschasius) whom he admired greatly. At a
    fairly young age, Paschasius left the convent to serve as a monk under
    Abbot Adalard, at Corbie.

    Through the abbotship of both Adalard and Wala, Paschasius focused on
    the monastic life, spending his time studying and teaching. When
    Adalard died in 826, Paschasius helped ensure Wala would become Abbot
    in his place. Wala’s death in 836 brought yet another abbot to Corbie, Ratramnus, who held opposing views to Paschasius on a number of
    ecclesiastical issues. Ratramnus wrote a refutation of Paschasius’
    treatise on the Eucharist, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, using the
    same title.

    By 844, Paschasius himself became abbot, however he resigned his title
    ten years later to return to his studies. He left Corbie for the
    nearby monastery of St Riquier, where he lived in voluntary exile for
    some years. Why he resigned is unknown, however, it is likely that his
    actions were motivated by factional disputes within his monastic
    community, misunderstandings between himself and the younger monks
    were likely factors in his decision. He returned to Corbie late in
    life and resided in his old monastery until his death in 865.

    St Paschasius’ body was first buried at the Church of St John in
    Corbie. After numerous reported miracles, the Pope ordered his remains
    to be removed and interred in the Church of St Peter, Corbie. He was
    Canonised in 1073 by Pope Gregory VII.

    St Paschasius has an extensive collection of works, including the
    “Vitae” or Lives of St Adalbert and St Wala and many exegeses on
    various books of the Bible. He wrote commentaries on the Gospel of
    Matthew, Lamentations, a commentary on Revelations and an exposition
    of Psalm 45, which he dedicated to the nuns at St Mary at Soissons. De
    Partu Virginis, written for his friend Emma, Abbess of St Mary at
    Soissons and daughter of Theodrara, describes the lifestyle of nuns.
    He also wrote a treatise, titled De Nativitae Sanctae Mariae,
    regarding the nature of the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus Christ. Paschasius probably wrote much more but none of it has survived
    through the centuries.

    The most well-known and influential work of St Paschasius, ‘De Corpore
    et Sanguine Domini’ The Body and Blood of Christ (written between 831
    and 833), is an exposition on the nature of the Eucharist. It was
    originally written as an instructional manual for the monks under his
    care at Corbie and is the first lengthy treatise on the Sacrament of
    the Eucharist in the Western world. In it, Paschasius agrees with St
    Ambrose (340-397) in affirming that the Eucharist contains the true,
    historical body of Jesus Christ.

    According to Paschasius, God is truth itself and, therefore, His words
    and actions must be true. Christ’s proclamation at the Last Supper
    that the bread and wine were His body and blood must be taken
    literally, since God is truth. He believes that the transubstantiation
    of the bread and wine to be used at the Eucharist occurs literally.
    Only if the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ can a
    Christian know it is salvific.

    Paschasius believed that the presence of the historical blood and body
    of Christ allows the partaker a real union with Jesus in a direct,
    personal and physical union by joining a person’s flesh with Christ’s
    and Christ’s flesh with his. To Paschasius, the Eucharist’s
    transformation into the flesh and blood of Christ is possible because
    of the principle that God is truth, God is able to manipulate nature,
    as He created it.

    The book was given to Charles the Bald, the Frankish king, as a
    present in 844, with the inclusion of a special introduction. The view Paschasius expressed in this work was met with some hostility.
    Ratramnus, who preceded Paschasius as Abbot of Corbie, wrote a
    rebuttal by the same name, by order of Charles the Bald, who did not
    agree with some of the views Paschasius held. Ratramnus believed that
    the Eucharist was strictly metaphorical, he focused more on the
    relationship between faith and the newly emerging science, while
    Paschasius believed in the miraculous.

    Shortly thereafter, a third monk joined the debate, St Rabanus Maurus
    (c 780–856), which initiated the Carolingian Eucharist Controversy. Ultimately, however, the king accepted Paschasius’ assertion and the
    physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which had already been
    believed for centuries, was cemented by St Paschasius' book and
    cleared the way for a precise understanding of Transubstantiation.


    “…only the Cross of Christ
    sheds light on the path of this life….
    God is in the detached heart,
    in the silence of prayer,
    in the voluntary sacrifice to pain,
    in the emptiness of the world and its creatures.
    God is in the Cross and,
    as long as we do not love the Cross,
    we will not see Him, or feel Him….
    If the world and men knew….
    But they will not know,
    they are very busy in their interests,
    their hearts are very full of things
    that are not God.”

    “How good God is, I thought!
    There is peace everywhere
    except in the human heart.
    …God is so good to me that,
    in the silence,
    He speaks to my heart
    and teaches me,
    little by little,
    sometimes in tears,
    always with the cross,
    to detach myself from creatures,
    not to look for perfection
    except in Him …”
    --St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

    Bible Quote:
     The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of
    the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the
    partaking of the body of the Lord?  [1Cor 10:16] DRB

    Reflection on Fasting

    "And the Saviour also, when He manifested Himself to the world in the
    Jordan, began at this point. For after His baptism the Spirit led Him into
    the wilderness and He fasted for forty days and forty nights. Likewise all
    who set out to follow in His footsteps make the beginning of their struggle upon this foundation. For this is a weapon forged by God, and who shall
    escape blame if he neglects it? And if the Lawgiver Himself fasts, who
    among those who keep the law has no need of fasting? This is why the human
    race knew no victory before fasting, and the devil had never experienced
    defeat from our nature; but this weapon has made him powerless from the outset."
    --St. Isaac the Syrian.

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