Introit (Psalm 138:18, 5, 6) I arose, and am still with You, alleluia; You have laid Your hand upon me, alleluia; Your knowledge is become wonderful, alleluia, alleluia. Psalm. Lord, You have searched me, and known me; You know my sitting down and my rising up. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — I arose …
Collect O God, who, on this day, through Your only-begotten Son, conquered death, and threw open to us the gate of everlasting life, give effect by Your aid to our desires, which You anticipate and inspire. Through …
Epistle (I Corinthians 5:7 – 8) Brethren: purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened: for Christ our Pasch is sacriﬁced. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Gradual (Psalm 117: 24, 1) This is the day which the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it. Give praise unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever. Alleluia, alleluia. (I Cor. 5. 7). Christ our Pasch is sacriﬁced.
Alleluia Alleluia, alleluia, The Lord has reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and has girded himself with power. Alleluia.
The Gospel (Mark 16:1-7) At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the ﬁrst day of the week, they came to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: “Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe, and they were astonished. He said to them: “Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was cruciﬁed: He is risen, He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples, and Peter, that He goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, as He told you.”
Offertory (Psalm 75:9, 10) The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment, alleluia.
The Secret We beseech You, O Lord, accept the prayers of Your people together with the Sacriﬁce they offer, that what has been begun by the Paschal Mysteries, may by Your arrangement result in our eternal healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Communion (I Corinthians 5: 7, 8) Christ our Pasch is sacriﬁced, alleluia: therefore let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Post-Communion Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Your love, that those whose hunger You have satisﬁed with the Sacraments of Easter may in Your kindness be one in heart. Through our Lord …
What is joy? One writer distinguishes “happiness”, “joy”, and “bliss”. He says that “happiness” is a temporary state that passes from the head and through the feelings, while “joy” is the response of the heart, that is, a really deep feeling which wells up from inside. Another difference between the two is that happiness can completely evaporate, leaving only a memory, but joy never entirely vanishes: it leaves a trace, an impression in the heart which can always be touched. This makes sense: an idea which finds no home in the heart will disappear, but a feeling which has appeared inside can never be denied. We can change our ideas, and therefore our superficial emotions can be converted into their opposite, but a true feeling cannot be actually changed.
This has an interesting corollary: if we find our “love” turning into “hate”, then we never really did love in the first place: we only imagined that we did. That is often the only “love” we know: a notion that our desperate emotions want to cling to and believe in. But this is not love: it might be a string liking, it might be infatuation or even obsession, but it is not love. Love can never become hatred. This true love is the Christian love to which Christ calls us: it is the love for which He suffered His Passion and died on the Cross. If we compare what we call “love” with the love of the Lord, we will see that most of our love is of an entirely different kind. Yet, I believe that some of our love is if not so powerful, yet of that kind: one who gives up their life for their family or friends has a love of that type, hence Our Lord said: “No greater love than this has any man, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
I am not saying that happiness is bad and that only joy is good. All I am saying is that happiness and joy are not the same, and that joy has more value, although happiness is entirely legitimate, and can be quite pleasant (but when it is at someone else’s expense).
Then there is “bliss.” This is the unfathomable affirmation which those who are admitted to heaven will know. We know little about it. We can only speak of it by reference to other, milder experiences which we may have had, and then say that bliss must be something far greater. So, we will not speak of “bliss”, but we will return to “joy.”
Every Christian surely feels a resounding joy on Easter Sunday. One might be happy that our fasting is over, and we can now eat breakfast, and no longer abstain from flesh. By the end of Lent, some of us look forward to meat and a nice glass of red wine! But even if that is legitimate happiness, one can also feel a certain joy that one persevered through Lent and has now reached the Mystery of Easter – the triumph of the heavens over sin and death. To share in that triumph will be to leave happiness and joy behind like the earlier stages of our journey. It will be to enter into the ecstasy, the bliss of the angels and the saints who perpetually worship God, face to face.
When we start to feel sad and down, depressed or despondent, remember Easter. Remember the joy of that sunny morning. Remember that “as it as in the beginning is now and ever shall be”, and if we can remember that joy, it will reawaken in us: it will stir the embers of the heart. And thank God for what you have, recall your faith, take strength in hope, and reach for His love.