Virgin of the Rosary
The Little King: CHRIST
Yesterday, Today and Forever
Rev. Father Camillus, C.P.
One sun-hid day, from the sodden top of Calvary's hill, another message was heralded to all the world:---a message, too, that was as great as that heralded, thirty-three years before, from the white tops of Bethlehem's hills, on that starlight night: and the message was this:---"It is finished." The sky did not ring with music from the choirs of Heaven when that message was proclaimed. No, but the sun took its light out of the sky, and nature dirged a requiem in the deep tones of the thunder's roll.
On that skull-strewn hill, a Body, white and blood-streaked, was stretched upon a Cross; and it was the body of Him Who was once the Infant God huddled in the manger's straw. Mary His mother was there, and John was there---he was taking the place of Joseph, now sleeping the sleep of the just in Nazareth so many leagues away,---and a crowd of curious spectators was there on that day of days when God, now a full-grown man, was dying before their eyes.
From the sixth to the ninth hour, He had hung there in the throes of death:---hours that must have seemed like three eternities. And then, His blanched and thirst-swollen lips parted and faintly spoke: "it is finished." And that was the last scene in the drama of the world's redemption.
The "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" was the cradle song of Christ's birth. "It is finished" was the requiem of His death.
It is finished! At last, men are through with doing all that they could do to make that day the saddest of days for God. But God is not through with doing all that He could do make it the gladdest of days for men.
When Christ said: "It is finished," He spoke as the sower who has sown the field with the seed, and not as the reaper who has reaped the harvest and garnered the sheaves. What He did on the Cross that was only prophetic of greater things to come. He did not then give to men all that He had to give, and what He purposed to give. He only began the stream of blessings that was to grow, broader and deeper, until at last, it would empty into the ocean of infinitude. It was only the birthday of that glorious abundance of life which He said he had come to give.
It is not the way of God to accomplish His designs suddenly, but by a steady development. he begins with the less and goes on to the greater ... From atoms He constructs the universe.
The gladdening things He did for men on that day might be interpreted as the fulfillment of Ezechiel's vision, when the Angel brought him to the door of the temple, and showed him, oozing through the soft earth, at the side of the altar, a tiny stream. Guided by the Angel, and following the course of the thread-like water, the prophet discovered that it became a growing rivulet. At the end of the a thousand cubits, it had become so large that his ankles were covered by it. A thousand cubits farther on, the swiftly flowing river had come up to his waist; and at the end of four thousand cubits, it had swollen to a flood, so broad and deep, that fording it was impossible.
Strolling along its banks farther still, Ezechiel witnessed an entrancing sight. The river turned toward the desert, and lo, the sandy waste became a flourishing garden. Where bleak barrenness had reigned before, now were spread before him acres of purple vintage, waiting the gathering and the wine press; fields of golden corn were waving in the glory of the noonday sun. orchards of trees were bending with luscious fruit. Flowers bloomed and fraganced the air, and the songs of birds wafted on the breeze. Everywhere was life, joy, fertility and beauty.
Nor, did the marvel cease there. The river turned and flowed into the Dead Sea, which was the grave of every living thing it touched. But now, as the waters of the river mingled with those of that poisoned sea, an amazing thing happened. The sea was healed of its venom, and countless fish sported in its crystal depths. Wherever the river went, the prophet saw fruitfulness and happiness spring up as at a conjurer's command.
That river of Ezechiel's vision may well symbolize the stream of blessings that began at the side of the altar of the Cross, and which grows steadily in majesty and power as it pursues its course through the earth, everywhere bringing joy and hope. Its gladdening influence upon men and their civilization is evident to every observer of history. It runs through the home, sanctifying the love of husband and wife, and consecrating the mutual relations of parents and children. It runs through the market place, establishing honesty and justice between buyer and seller. It runs through the shop and factory and field, dignifying labor and proclaiming to aristocracy and plebeian alike that the toiler is a serf to no one, but is a man in a world of men, and who is blessed in that he belongs to the common people, to which Christ Himself belonged, and not to the caste of which Christ said that they shall hardly enter into the kingdom of Heaven. It runs through the cathedrals of learning, guiding the researches of science in its efforts to interpret or solve the riddle of the universe. It runs to every heart, emancipating it from selfishness, and inspiring it with holy ideals and eager yearnings that soar as high as the morning star. Every force that is operating in the world today, to purify and sweeten the life of individuals and of nations, all our liberties, and all our moralities, are the result, directly or indirectly, of what God did for men on that Parasceve Day nineteen centuries ago. From that moment, we find that "His words stir the soul as summer dews call up the faint and sickly grass;" and that His personality is the greatest spiritual attraction, and the Divinest appearance in human form that ever blessed the earth.
His crucified figure has captivated the imagination, and mastered the conscience of the multitudes over all the earth, because they find in Him everything to which they can aspire, and all that they can conceive God to be. From the moment when the darkness of Calvary rolled away, a new light has beamed upon the earth, and in its brightness life and everything that pertains to it assumed a new and progressive aspect; and, like the light, it steadily increases in splendor, taking possession of the universe, and silently defying everything that would attempt to stay its invincible march toward the zenith of its glory.
Hence it is that He has done by dying, what
no other man has been able to do by living. That word: