Tag Archives: Easter

“The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made”

This headline (“The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made“) piqued my curiosity so I went to the Crisis magazine website to see what the writer was talking about. When I saw the picture, I knew and believed because I have kept a copy of the exact same picture in my desk for years. The painting is by Eugène Burnand and is called “The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection.”

It depicts the moments after St. Mary Magdalene has proclaimed to St. Peter and St. John (John 20: 1-10) that the Lord was not in the tomb. They run with haste and urgency to see for themselves what Mary proclaimed to them: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Easter Monday

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

The author of the article, Elise Ehrhard, says: “Burnand created a sparse, simple painting capturing two of the most important players in the greatest story ever told. Meditate upon their faces as Burnand intended you to do and through them discover the empty tomb.”

Holy Week With the Norbertines

In this day and age when homogenization seems to rule the day, it is wonderful to know that there are some venerable orders like the Dominicans and the Carmelites who still retain their ancient liturgical practices. In particular, the Norbertine liturgy during Holy Week is replete with symbols which echo back to ancient practices. Saint Norbert lived around the time of the Crusades and since the Latin Catholic liturgy was the predominant from of worship in Jerusalem, the liturgical practices of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site of our Lord’s Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection, had a profound impact on the Norbertine liturgy.

First, the Norbertines’ habit is white, like the original canons of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, symbolizing the angels who announced the Lord’s Resurrection.

At the end of the Palm Sunday procession, there is an unveilng and a threefold adoration of the Holy Cross, a 12th century practice in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

On Good Friday, there is a special form of the unveiling and adoration of the Cross, symbolizing the Eastern and Western Churches uniting at the foot of Calvary.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

It is the tradition in the Holy Land to celebrate the Mass of the place versus the Mass of the day. So, for example, in Bethlehem, no matter what the day of the year (with some exceptions), the Mass celebrating the Lord’s birth is the order of the day. It is also true that in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Easter Mass is usually celebrated every single day of the year. The Norbertines imitated this practice by celebrating the Mass of Easter each Sunday of Easter. At St. Michael’s Abbey in California, the Easter Antiphon of Easter Sunday is sung on each Sunday of the Easter season.

Finally, the Church calls for all the faithful to bow in reverence during the Nicene Creed when we recall the Incarnation. The Norbertines extend this reverence when the Nicene Creed is sung though the words professing faith in Jesus’ Burial and they rise from this reverence when they profess faith in His Resurrection. Once again, this practice comes from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

For more information, see the Spring 2013 issue of the St. Michael Messenger from St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, CA. If you are nearby a Norbertine Abbey, try attend a Norbertine liturgy and deepen your experience of Holy Week and the holy season of Easter. You don’t have to be a pilgrim to the Holy Land to experience a little bit of the uniqueness that comes from these ancient and deeply moving liturgical traditions.






The Road to Emmaus

Every year at Easter Wednesday Mass we hear St. Luke’s account of Our Lord’s appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

This Gospel passage brings to mind the Eucharistic “amazement” that Pope John Paul II sought to rekindle in the faithful through his final encyclical letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia: Continue reading The Road to Emmaus