‘… I rose up and am still with you.’
‘… he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins….‘
From the Office of Readings in today’s Liturgy of the Hours, an excerpt from a letter by Pope St Leo the Great:
To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other. [… ]
One and the same person – this must be said over and over again – is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man.
Blessed Fra Angelico‘s fresco of the mocking of Christ (above) depicts Dominic off to the side, reading — but, it’s safe to suppose from the context, not just reading: In his Eighth Way of Prayer, Saint Dominic integrated the acts of prayer and reading. Dominic’s reading-prayer did not consist only in his meditation on the text, but also in his reverent handling of the book as a physical object, and in his engagement with the Divine Author as a presence in the room. The Nashville Dominicans quote Fr Simon Tugwell, OP’s description of the Eighth Way:
Sober and alert and anointed with a spirit of devotion which he had drawn from the words of God which had been sung in choir or during the meal, [Dominic] would settle himself down to read or pray, recollecting himself in himself and fixing himself in the presence of God. Sitting there quietly, he would open some book before him, arming himself first with the sign of the cross, and then he would read. And he would be moved in his mind as delightfully as if he heard the Lord speaking to him. […] It was as if he were arguing with a friend; at one moment he would appear to be feeling impatient, nodding his head energetically, then he would seem to be listening quietly, then you would see him disputing and struggling, and laughing and weeping all at once, fixing then lowering his gaze, then again speaking quietly and beating his breast. […] The man of God had a prophetic way of passing over quickly from reading to prayer and from meditation to contemplation.
When he was reading like this on his own, he used to venerate the book and bow to it and sometimes kiss it, particularly if it was a book of the gospels or if he was reading the words which Christ had spoken with his own lips. And sometimes he used to hide his face and turn it aside, or he would bury his face in his hands or hide it a little in his scapular. And then he would also become anxious and full of yearning, and he would also rise a little, respectfully, and bow as if he were thanking some very special person for favors received. Then, quite refreshed and at peace in himself, he would continue reading his book.
‘Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son, that shall be called Emmanuel.‘
Dignity, gravity, and meditative sobriety combine with Easter joy in this hymn, a favorite of mine. The verses on the doubting of Thomas are especially moving.
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heav’nly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave hath lost its sting!
That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay.
An angel clad in white they see
Who sits and speaks unto the three,
“Your Lord will go to Galilee.”
That night the Apostles met in fear;
Among them came their master dear
And said: “My peace be with you here.”
When Thomas first the tidings heard
That they had seen the risen Lord,
He doubted the disciples’ word.
“My piercèd side, O Thomas, see,
And look upon My hands, My feet;
Not faithless but believing be.”
No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
“You are my Lord and God!” he cried.
How blest are they that have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been,
For they eternal life shall will.
On this most holy day of days
Be laud and jubilee and praise:
To God your hearts and voices raise.
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!