O hidden strength

Daily Reading for April 22 • Good Friday

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Christian soul, brought to life again out of the heaviness of death, redeemed and set free from wretched servitude by the blood of God, rouse yourself and remember that you are risen, realize that you have been redeemed and set free. Consider again the strength of your salvation and where it is found. Meditate upon it, delight in the contemplation of it. Shake off your lethargy and set your mind to thinking over these things. Taste the goodness of your Redeemer, be on fire with love for your Saviour. Chew the honeycomb of his words, suck their flavor which is sweeter that sap, swallow their wholesome sweetness. Chew by thinking, suck by understanding, swallow by loving and rejoicing. Be glad to chew, be thankful to suck, rejoice to swallow.

What then is the strength and power of your salvation and where is it found? Christ has brought you back to life. He is the good Samaritan who healed you. He is the good friend who redeemed you and set you free by laying down his life for you. Christ did all this. So the strength of your salvation is the strength of Christ.

Where is the strength of Christ? . . . What is there to be venerated in such abjection? Surely something is hidden by this weakness, something is concealed by this humility. There is something mysterious in this abjection.

O hidden strength:

a man hangs on a cross and lifts the load of eternal death from the human race;

a man nailed to wood looses the bonds of everlasting death that hold fast the world.

O hidden power:

a man condemned with thieves saves men condemned with devils,

a man stretched out on the gibbet draws all men to himself.

O mysterious strength:

one soul coming forth from torment draws countless souls with him out of hell,

a man submits to the death of the body and destroys the death of souls.

From “Meditation on Human Redemption” in The Prayers and Meditations of Saint Anselm, translated by Sister Benedicta Ward, SLG (London: Penguin Classics, 1973).

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