The Blessed Virgin urged the children at Fatima to pray the Rosary frequently and fervently. This article is an excerpt from Sr. Lucia’s “Calls” from the Message of Fatima, Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, Fatima, distributed by Ravengate Press. –Assistant Ed.
First Glorious Mystery: the Resurrection of Jesus
In this first glorious mystery of the Rosary, we recall the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the end of the previous decade, we reflected on these words of Jesus: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father” (Jn 10:17-18). This reference to his Father’s commandment and to his own power to lay down his life and take it up again, forms part of the various predictions which Jesus made to his disciples during his public life, when He warned them that He would die, as the prophets had foretold, but that He would rise from the dead on the third day. Jesus made the first of these predictions immediately after having heard from the lips of Peter the confession of faith whereby Peter recognized Jesus as “the Christ, Son of the living God.” The Evangelist says: “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Mt 16:21).
In the Upper Room, He had celebrated with the Apostles the Passover of the Old Covenant and afterwards instituted the sacred rite which was to perpetuate the New Covenant. And, “when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away; for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mk 14:26-28).
The truth of the Lord’s Resurrection rests on historical signs and events which are absolutely authentic. First, the fact that it was clearly predicted by Jesus Himself, a fact which prompted the Jews themselves to place a guard at the tomb where his body lay. When the Resurrection took place, the empty tomb attested the fact and, in particular, the many witnesses who saw Him after He had risen from the dead. They ate at table with Him, they touched the wounds on his hands and his side, they lived with Him for forty days, during which the Risen Jesus instructed them and gave them the powers necessary for the Church. The Apostles and many disciples were so sure of this that they gave their lives in defense of the truth they proclaimed.
The first announcement that the Resurrection had taken place was made to women who, unable to anoint the Lord’s body properly the evening before, came early on Sunday morning to pay Him this last homage. The announcement was made to them by the Angel who rolled back the stone from the sepulcher. St. Matthew tells us this fact as follows:
Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Mt 28:1-10).
In St. Mark’s Gospel we have an account of the same fact:
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen…. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” (Mk 16:1-7).
We also have the same announcement of the Resurrection to the women, from the pen of St. Luke, with some details of his own:
The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments…. On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel… the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who