On the Burial of Our Lord.
They took Jesus from the cross. He descended from it only after his death through obedience to his Father and to those who detached him from it. It was necessary for him to remain there while he lived, to die there, and be taken down only after death. Should not you detach yourself from worldly things and be all to God? Ought you not to become like a dead body that remains where it is placed and never complains of what is done to it?
Jesus was taken from the cross to the tomb. Behold the end of his works! Behold the place of his repose! Behold the termination of his laborious travels! It was for this that he came into the world. After many sufferings you will also come hither and find rest in the grave if you have not enjoyed it in your life and have died on the cross. The disciples almost lost hope. Their charity was weak if not quite dead. They were sad and downcast because they were deprived of the sensible presence of their divine Master and could neither see nor hear him. Oh, how often this happens!
When Jesus was taken down from the cross how eagerly his holy Mother received him in her arms. But unutterable grief was blended with her consolation when she beheld him covered with blood and wounds from his head to his feet! His sacred body was washed with her tears. His wounded hands, feet, and side were kissed with tenderness, awe, and anguish. His agonies were over but the sorrows of Mary continued. Her heart was wrung with new pangs when they took him away to entomb him. Her afflictions were increased by this separation. What did she say? What were her thoughts while gazing on this sad spectacle? She did not abandon herself to grief or fall into impatience, but was resigned to the separation from that which was most dear to her because it was the will of God. Imitate her example. Suffer the loss of all that you most prize and love and sacrifice everything to the will of God who orders all things for your good.
Happy is he who receives Jesus when he descends from the cross! The grain of mustard must die and be buried in the earth ere it can bring forth fruit. Jesus is on the altar as truly as he was on the cross. The altar is Calvary, your heart the sepulcher where he desires to rest after the great sacrifice of his love. It is the place he has chosen for his burial and where he ought to be kept by a constant renewal of grace and penance. Joseph of Arimathea gave our Lord his sepulcher: will you refuse him yours? Nicodemus brought sweet spices and new linen for his burial. Oh, it will be rendered precious and glorious for him if you prepare the sepulcher with the rich perfume of humility and devotion! Oh Christian soul, make ready for the burial of Jesus in your heart!
Happy is he who is crucified and buried with Jesus, who is hidden on earth from the eyes of men, who is unknown, numbered as it were with the dead, and remembered no more; he will soon rise with Jesus, immortal and impassible like him. Happy is he who preserves his faith in the obscurity of the senses, who loses not his hope because all sensible support is withdrawn, and who does not cease to love when deprived of all consolation!
Resolution: I will keep my heart always pure and free from sin as a worthy resting place for Jesus.
Prayer: Oh Jesus my Savior, thou didst truly become a hidden God being wrapped in linen, buried in a sepulcher, and numbered with the dead. Hide me in thy bosom. Let me be buried with thee. Let me no longer be esteemed or known among men. Let me die to all my senses and be separated from all my desires. I am ready to follow thee wheresoever thou goest. In company with thee I have nothing to fear.
By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.