Oh, Death, where is your sting?
Oh, Hell, where is your victory?
The Glory of God has defeated the Night.
Oh Church, come stand in the Light.
Our God is not dead.
He’s alive, He’s alive!
Yesterday we celebrated the exaltation of the Cross. What a feast! The victory of the Cross over hell, over death, over sin. Christ did something that no one before Him ever could. He gave suffering meaning. Through His suffering, the gates of Heaven were opened. Satan was conquered. Let us embrace our Crosses, no matter how great or small they are.
The smallest inconveniences of the day, the smallest sufferings, can be offered up to Christ to share in His Passion and to partake in His work: for graces to flow onto the earth.
How many souls can be saved from Purgatory if we offer our sufferings for them? How many unbelievers can receive the grace of conversion? How much can we do for the Kingdom of God? Part of the trick, I believe, lies in fasting. During the Middle Ages, Christians used to fast on bread & water every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. They knew the secret that lies in the power of the Cross. In Medjugorje, Our Lady asks us to do the same on Wednesdays and Fridays.
With fasting, we embrace a beautiful Cross — we partake in the suffering and redemptive work of the Lord Jesus, who underwent so much humiliation and torture for us. How ungrateful would we be if we could not offer only two out of seven days in return for all that He gave us?
Great graces come through fasting, through self-denial. Combine it with prayer and, Our Lady tells us, nothing can touch us. We are free from death. And, in the process, we may free others by the graces that flourish from our fasts. Addictions can be cured, healings can come, souls may be saved. Let us not avoid any longer this meaningful, meaningful work. To God be the glory for the freedom of the Cross!
Where, oh death, is your victory?
Where, oh death, is your sting?
- 1 Corinthians 15:55
(the powerful song above — “Christ is Risen” — is by Catholic artist Matt Maher. For more, please visit the Music Library)