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(LifeSiteNews) — Dear friends,

Alleluia, Alleluia,
That Easter morn at break of day,
the faithful women went their way
to seek the tomb where Jesus lay.

A happy and blessed Easter to you all!

These words – which many of us have just heard sung at the Easter Vigil – put me in mind of the feelings of St. Mary Magdalene when she was reunited with Our Risen Lord on the first Easter morning.

When Mary encountered Christ early on Easter Sunday she was weeping.

“Why art thou weeping?” the angels asked.

“Because they have carried away my Lord,” she replied, “and I cannot tell where they have taken him.”

For Mary Magdalene, the discovery of the empty tomb must have seemed to be a final, catastrophic blow.

For three days she had been enduring crushing psychological torments.

She had seen her Lord and Savior, the one she “loved much,” who had forgiven her sins and restored her dignity, undergo the agonies of His Passion.

She had seen Him betrayed, arrested, imprisoned, falsely accused, tortured, mocked, and finally put to a death more painful than any other death, because he bore the sins of the world.

And now, as she came out that morning, before it was even light, she found that she had been deprived of the opportunity of tending to His body in death.

It was the culmination of a personal tragedy and of unbelievable horror.

Yet… a few moments later she encountered her Risen Lord.

In just a few moments, she must have passed from the depths of unimaginable agony to the exaltation of incomprehensible joy.

Is there a lesson here for us who today endure the suffering of Christ in His Church?

St. Mary Magdalene knew that she was a sinner and that Christ was her Savior. On the night of Holy Thursday, He was wrenched away from her by evil men, and she did not know when, or if, He would be restored to her.

We know that we are sinners and that we need the Church for our salvation. We know that without her we cannot go to heaven.

But many of us have felt as though the Church has been wrenched away from us by evil men.

In our parishes, in our dioceses, in our countries, evil men, corrupt bishops, and fallen priests have tried to take Christ away from us.

They have laid their hands on Our Lord as did the soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and they have kissed Him with the kiss of Judas.

And we have witnessed it and experienced a horror akin to that of St. Mary Magdalene witnessing the Passion of Our Lord.

Christ suffered then in his physical body. Today he suffers in His Mystical Body.

This is not just a metaphor. It is a reality.

The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. He is the head, and we are the members.

And as St. Thomas Aquinas said:

The head and members are as one mystic person.

Because Christ and the Church are one, Fr. Faber could write:

A man’s love of the Church is the surest test of his love of God.

When we love God, we love the Church. When we love the Church, we suffer with the Church.

And we have seen her suffer much in our lifetimes.

Easter is an important reminder that the triumphs of evil are only temporary.

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ And she turned and said to him, ‘Rabboni.’

The space of time that it took for Jesus to say the name “Mary” was all that it took to transport St. Mary Magdalene from the depths of grief to the heights of joy.

And so too God has the power to vindicate His Church and cast down His enemies in a moment, in the blink of an eye.

And He will do it!

We can be quite certain that God is only permitting this terrible period of trial because he is going to bring greater good from it.

And what kind of good can result from the greatest period of evil in human history?

Only something more glorious than we can imagine – just like the Resurrection of Our Lord was something beyond the most fervent hopes of St. Mary Magdalene.

The message of Easter is the message of the final victory of good over evil, of light over darkness.

Our duty during this dark night is to keep watch.

In the Book of Revelation, Our Lord speaks to the church of Sardis, in words which almost seem to be addressed to us today. He says:

Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. (Rev. 3:2)

Strengthen the things that remain.

That seems to be our great mission today, and it is a central part of the mission of LifeSiteNews.

You and I cannot save the Church – only God can do that – but we can work to “strengthen the things that remain,” to strengthen the things that it is in our power to strengthen, even when it seems like they are ready to die.

We must strengthen our spiritual lives. We must work to strengthen our families, our friends, and the communities to which we belong. We must strengthen our knowledge and grasp of the Catholic faith, which is the “pearl without price.”

St. Paul warned us:

Stand firm and hold by the traditions you have learned, in word or in writing, from us. (2 Thess. 2:15)

And he commands us:

Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8)

This means that we must reject the false gospel of a false welcoming and acceptance without repentance, and therefore a gospel without salvation.

We must be faithful to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the gospel of which St Paul says:

The gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 1:11-12)

This gospel was given by God to the apostles, and by the successors of the apostles to us. It has been presented to us by the infallible magisterium of the Catholic Church, and we must keep every dot and iota of it.

No matter how many fall away – as Judas fell away – we must keep awake, and we must keep watch.

We may find the watch to be long and painful, but Our Lord has promised us that we will not watch alone. A faithful remnant will always remain:

But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy. (Rev. 3:4)

And this faithful remnant will receive its reward:

He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev. 3:5)

One day, our watch shall come to an end, and those who have remained faithful will be clothed in the white garments of eternal life.

White is the color of Easter.

Tonight, Holy Saturday, men and women across the world were washed clean by the waters of baptism and were clothed in garments of white.

For the next fifty days, our altars will be dressed in white, reminding us that in every age the Church is renewed by the celebration of Easter and by the grace of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

And today the Church will sing, as she has for many centuries past:

That Eastertide with joy was bright;
the sun shone out with fairer light,
alleluia, alleluia!
when, to their longing eyes restored,
the apostles saw their risen Lord.

Death is temporary. Evil is temporary. Christ’s victory is forever.

From all of us here at LifeSite, we wish you and your families all the joy of our victorious and risen Lord this Easter!

John-Henry Westen 
Co-Founder and CEO

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.