Why do you search for the living one among the dead.
St. Gaspar del Bufalo:
"With regard to your soul, I say, in the first place, that God is leading you along the royal path of the Cross in your particular station of life with both internal and external sufferings. ... It is now a winter season ..-. but eventually that lovable spring will arrive which will enable us to breathe again in the fatherland of the saints. Oh how we are comforted in our souls by the mysteries of the Resurrection! Yes, please pray that I too may truly be risen with Jesus, that is to say, to a new life and to an eager pursuit of holiness."
"Let us, therefore, pray for one another and put all our trials in the wounds of the crucified Jesus. There we shall find a healing remedy --- consolation, encouragement and salvation. Let us sincerely love our Society "with the holy kiss" so that "we too might live a new life." But above all, let us continually watch that the enemy does not deceive us: and may "the peace of God which is so much greater than we can understand, guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus." 
The end of the Lenten season has come, swallowed in the Paschal mysteries celebrated in the Holy Triduum. And now it is day. The suffering one is vindicated. Spring has come. The flowers in the church sanctuaries around the globe give witness to a flowering of new life.
The old life is gone. The past is past. Death is defeated, and life forever is claimed. Are you not aware that you who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? It is so that by bearing a likeness to his death we may also bear a likeness to his resurrection. Life as you have lived it is demanded of you. You have died and the life you live now is in Christ.
St. Gaspar who has taught us about the cross, shows us the way to the springtime of Easter. May we too live in the power of the resurrection, and be comforted and enlivened by these mysteries.
-- What is the most significant thing that happened to you in this Lenten season?
-- What about these mysteries we celebrate give you the most hope?
-- Describe how the peace of the risen Lord holds guard over your life?
 to Mother Maria Nazzarena De Castris, 10 April 1830, Letter 2026 Strokes of the Pen IV, 9.28, pg. 45
 1 Th 5:26
 Rm 6:4
 Ph 4:7
 From the First Circular Letter, 1826
There is no Eucharist celebrated on this day, until the beginning of the Great Easter Vigil this evening. During this time the Church keeps Vigil and tells the story of salvation history.
The apostles, indeed, at first generously welcomed and with fullness of heart followed the Savior. But later they became timid and weak to such a degree that they deserted him during the Passion: "Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away." "So, it sometimes happens that a person dedicates himself freely to God, but in the course of time that havoc does not the infernal enemy effect, and that at the expense of conscience? How often does not your wan of fervor open the way to disillusionment, gloom, melancholy and even regret of the step you have taken? This is a source of delight for the enemy. But woe to you if prompt resistance is not offered to his diabolical suggestions! How did the Lord deal with his apostles? He assembled them in the holy Cenacle under the august patronage of his own Mother. Then he called them to recollection, silence and prayer that they thereby implore a renewal of spirit and religious generosity: "The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord with great power . . . " So, too, God works in us during the days of retreat in order to be able to anticipate and forestall every attack of the devil. My [friends], God has called you to this figurative Cenacle, this retreat. He wishes to communicate his spirit to you in a particular way. He wants to strengthen your hearts, fortify you with virtue and lead you to holiness, so that you may leave this retreat spiritually refreshed and with the enthusiasm of youth to be able to fight the enemy of your soul with greater strength and courage. When you have subdued your foes from within, may you become apostles of God's glory.
Why is this night different from all other nights? On other Saturdays we have a 5:30pm Mass, but on this night it is much later and lasts much longer. On other nights we have three readings; on this night we tell the whole story. On other nights we reach to the holy water stoops at the doors, but on this night everyone comes to the baptismal font. This is the day of preparation for the great vigil. On this night the pillar of fire will appear again in the desert of our lives and lead us anew to the promised land of Jesus life and truth.
This should not be like any other Saturday. The experience of the previous day's passion should lead us into a time of silence, prayer, and reflection. For those working for a church it seems to be a day of flowers and of cleaning, but the preparation is for the greatest liturgy of the church's year. St. Gaspar calls us in this silence to a renewal of faith. Many people around the world will enter the font tonight and become a new creature in Christ. For the rest of us it is a time to renew our vows. It will be an exceptional time of grace as a new born people enters the world armed with the light of faith.
-- How do I plan to spend the holiest night of the year?
-- Is there a particular grace I desire this night?
-- Where in my life am I looking for a renewal of Spirit and religious generosity?
 Mt 26:56
 Ac 4:33
 From the Third Circular Letter
John 18: 1-40; 19: 1-42
The Passion according to John
Please do me the favor of telling the Holy Father that perhaps he, one day, will realize what he does not presently see. I am not speaking about myself but about the Society. He will weep for having used during an audience a procedure which was not in accordance with God. Only God knows whether I shall survive all of the bitter things that have occurred. I have not lost sight of my conformity to his divine will, for doing his most loveable divine will is my total pursuit. However, I am not made of iron or of bronze. To face continuous, baseless rebukes and invectives, without due process, both of my conduct and that of others, is a very bitter chalice to drink. All of this, however, is very little, considering my own demerits. Still, I glory in being a son of the Church and, wretched though I may be, I have not lost my faith. Excuse this outburst of mine which is meant for you alone, for I am besieged with sadness, yet I have not allowed any of this to leak out even to my companions, realizing that the war that is being waged is brought on by the enemy, and in the most despicable way.
St. Maria de Mattias
"By silence and prayer we will come to understand much better the preciousness of the cross, made sacred by the precious blood of Cross." 1863
"The Cross is always dear to those who truly love Jesus. Whoever love the Cross gives a sure sign that she holds in her heart a genuine love for Jesus. My dear, let us never move away from the Cross, for this is the key to the treasures of heaven. This is the gate of Paradise." 1847
St. Gaspar writes a great deal about the cross. The cross can be found also in the writings of St. Maria de Mattias, foundress of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. As she said, "The cross is always dear to those who truly love Jesus." For all the saints the cross stands at the center of our lives. For Francis de Sales it was the only road to heaven. For St. Gaspar it was the only book to read.
I remember once a couple experiencing trouble with their marriage. After many months they were communicating more effectively. One day there was a crisis. He was laid off from work. Her work was cut back. There was fear and frustration and anxiety. When they came to talk to me I noticed she was identifying with his fear rather than telling him to work harder. He was listening to her anxiousness without taking responsibility for it or telling her to settle down. I remarked how they were caring for one another and doing so well. She responded by asking, "if we are doing so well, why is life falling apart?"
Well, we follow someone who died on a cross, who experienced the worst and cruelest form of capital punishment. Life will fall apart. The struggles and trials of life and love will prove us and refine us into fire tried gold. Maturity comes, for St. Gaspar, through "thorns, crosses and hardships." What we will discover in the midst of these crosses is unconditional love.
-What are the thorns and hardships now?
-What successes do I adore?
-How might I take better care of another person?
 from Letter 1207 to Msgr. Bellisario Cristaldi, July 20, 1825, Resources 8, Stroke of the Pen II, pg 29‑30
The washing of the Feet. As I have done, so you must do.
It [the soul] loves God because it sees how he has loved the soul from all eternity: He first loved us. It reconsiders especially the themes concerning redemption and exclaims: The love of Christ impels us. It does so especially when seeing how far that love went when in his capacity as redeemer, [Christ] shed his blood to the last drop: He loves us and has washed away our sins in his blood. Faint with love, the soul exclaims, "Oh wounds, oh precious blood of my Lord, that I might praise you in eternity!" What a great thing it is that the blood of Jesus is even our drink in the Eucharist and how, finally, through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ we shall arrive in paradise. With your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation]. You made them a kingdom. . . . 
"Herein lies the glory of the priesthood, instituted for applying the price of redemption to souls, so that the divine Blood will not have been shed in vain, due to our own fault, as we note in the Holy Scriptures: “Quae utilitas in Sanguine meo?” ... Sanguis Jesu Christi emendabit conscientias nostras ab operibus mortuis."  
It would have been a normal gesture of hospitality, providing water for your guests so they could wash the dust of the road from their tired feet. Maybe there would have been an extra measure of devotion on the part of the disciple who assisted the master in washing his feet. But here we have another example of how Jesus has turned the world upside down. The master washes your feet.
But as he got up from the table and "took off his outer robe," we have an indication of something larger. He has taken off more than his robe. St. Gaspar wants us to see how far this love has taken him. He has emptied himself completely. He had no fear that his role or prestige or his person would be diminished. He did not even fear death. He was now in a place where he knows who he is, where he is from and where he is going.
And during supper Jesus, knowing that God had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.
It is the same for us. This is no mere gesture. This is not simply a sign or re-enactment. This is not about some past event. This is a celebration of who we are now and who we are to become.
This day also marks the origin of the priesthood. This is the glory of the priesthood, as Gaspar teaches, to effect and make known this incredible love of Jesus. Those who have been washed in him, who now share completely in him, in his life and his mission, we know who we are, where we have come from and where we are going. Death has no more power over us. We can live without fear and do what needs to be done because we know that nothing, not even betrayal, will prevent the reign of God from being revealed in us.
 1 Jn. 4:19
 2 Cor. 5:14.
 Rv. 1:5 (Jerusalem Bible translation)
 Rv. 5:9‑10
from the treatise "In omnibus divites factis in Illo" by St. Gaspar
 Psalms 30:10, "What gain would there be from my lifeblood." Gaspar quotes this passage quite often in his letters, eg. the June 1827 letter to Cristaldi, the July 1825 letter to Leo XII, as well as the letter quoted here. It is also used in his May, 1827 letter to Santarelli on the Month of the Precious Blood
 Hebrews 9:14 (Vulgate) quanto magis sanguis Christi qui per Spiritum Sanctum semet ipsum obtulit inmaculatum Deo emundabit conscientiam vestram ab operibus mortuis ad serviendum Deo viventi Hebrews 9:14. (Douay) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
 from Letter 1240 to Pope Leo XII, September 1, 1825, Resources 8, Strokes of the Pen II, XXIII, 2
One of you is about to betray me.
"Prescinding from the first centuries in the Church, centuries productive of martyrs, in the following epochs which history records for us, we note how one of the other dogma was attacked, how sacred things were subjected to scorn in one or their part of the Catholic world. In our miserable times, the crisis in the people is a general one, with indescribable perversion of basic principles and of proper living so as to hurl an insult at the redemptive act and, through human malice, to frustrate the application of the merits of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by the price of his Blood. Now, Blessed Father, is it not necessary to rekindle apostolic zeal and follow the inspirations of soul that are so favored by God so that we can revive in the memories of these people the inestimable price of our redemption and attempt to stir them to repentance and to tears? Is it not also a fact that Sacred Scripture itself gives us the steps to take for a reform? Pacificans per Sanguinem Crucis eius sive quae in coelis, sive quae i terris sunt? Do we ourselves not know that Christus dilexit ecclesiam tradidit semetipsum pro ea ...acquisivit sanguine suo? Does not Divine Wisdom tell us that justificati in Sanguine salvi erimus ab ira per ipsum?" 
The self-centered make the infinite finite. Does human life have a price? Can it be reduced to a few pieces of silver? Judas focuses on himself and his own hope for glory. He says, "How much will you give ME?" St. Gaspar has said that in our own day sacred things would be subjected to scorn. This is as true today as it was in Gaspar's time.
The disciples seem unaware of the impending disaster. They are surprised, yet their focus remains on self. "Not me!" They are unaware because as yet they are not fully involved in Jesus' life and ministry.
This day sets the stage for the celebration of his death and resurrection. It points us to the feast tomorrow and the next day. His betrayal is for us a reminder that we need to seek repentance for those parts in us that still focus on self and ultimately betray what Jesus came for. Gaspar reminds us that the scorn shown for sacred things and for life itself must propel us toward that devotion and spirituality which alone brought us to life. He has made peace through the blood of his cross, he who loved us and gave himself up for us. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood be all glory and honor.
 Colossians 1:20 (Vulgate) et per eum reconciliare omnia in ipsum pacificans per sanguinem crucis eius sive quae in terris sive quae in caelis sunt. Colossians 1:20 (RSV) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
 Ephesians 5:25 (Vulgate) et Christus dilexit ecclesiam et se ipsum tradidit pro ea. Ephesians 5:25 (RSV) as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
 Apoc 1:5 (Vulgate)et ab Iesu Christo qui est testis fidelis primogenitus mortuorum et princeps regum terrae qui dilexit nos et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo. Rev 1:5 (RSV) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
 Romans 5:9 (Vulgate) Christus pro nobis mortuus est multo igitur magis iustificati nunc in sanguine ipsius salvi erimus ab ira per ipsum. Romans 5:9 (RSV) Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
 XII, 80 81, July 29, 1825, to Pope Leo XII
John 13: 21‑33, 36‑38
I tell you truly, the cock will not crow before you have three times disowned me.
The more exalted our ministry, so much the more does the devil interfere with it as he tries to confound us. We will do all with the help of God's grace if, like boulders in the sea, we remain immobile, though assailed by the waves. Let us take bitter things as sweet. It is through trials that one realizes the degree of virtue attained. I am speaking of those trials that one did not plan for, those not chosen or selected; nevertheless, they are to be endured by us. By degrees we must attain to that superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione. 1). Where the Cross is, there also is the mercy of God. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: "my Congregation would cease to be if a single day would go by without crosses." Jesus was tempted to come down from the cross: ... but, for our instruction, he taught us to remain with the cross and to die on the cross.
Today we hear a comparison between Judas and Peter. Judas sets out on his quest to force God's hand, and Peter, as hapless as ever, professes his undying devotion. What basically separates Judas and Peter is the difference between a hope for power and a hope for relationship or service.
This is the night of betrayal and denial. "It was night," the gospel proclaims revealing the triumph of darkness as the enemies of Jesus seek to put an end to his influence. Jesus remains the obedient servant. Who he is does not change because of denial and betrayal. His faithfulness is lifelong, and he remains faithful through every trial, dryness and failure.
Gaspar calls us to follow Jesus in this faithfulness. The cross is our inheritance as he has told us many times before. Taking bitter things as sweet we shall remain faithful regardless of the trials life sets before us. It may seem unreasonable to abound with joy in the midst of tribulation as St. Gaspar calls us to. Yet he says that we must come to this gradually. With Peter's hope for relationship and devotion, we shall come through failure and trial to the perfection to which Jesus calls us.
 We have heard St. Gaspar quote this passage before. This seems to be one of St. Gaspar's favorite phrases. I know it is at least in four of his circular letters. The last quote, Friday of last week was from Strokes of the Pen V. This one is from Strokes of the Pen IV. Here again is the translation from the Vulgate/Douay: "Superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione." (I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation. 2 Cor. 7:4
 to Missionary Father Domenico Silvestri, 22 May 1833, Letter 2523, Resources 23, Strokes of the Pen IV, 9.54, pg 52
Mary anoints the feet of Jesus
The soul, therefore, loves the life of prayer. [The king] brought me into the cellar of wine. The love of God is symbolized by wine. Just as wine when drunk in moderation takes away sadness, so [with prayer]. But as for this wine cellar, happy the person who becomes inebriated! [The soul] ardently seeks God in moments of conversation pondering the extent of his love in becoming our teacher, father and redeemer. How the soul seeks to please him by extending its own ardent longings. It hears from the cross: `Sitio': "I thirst” And what it would not do in response. It weeps for those who do not weep, prays for those who do not pray. It seeks in some way to compensate for the many injustices directed at the Lord, and for his despised honor. It knows too that souls have cost him blood and it meditates on the reasons for divine forbearance. The soul prays for those who labor in the Lord's vineyard, hurrying to do what good it can, never ceasing to pray. "My people," it hears the Lord say, "what damage has been brought forth in the world due to a lack of prayer." Meanwhile, to appease the Father the soul offers the blood of Jesus Christ: Look upon the face of your anointed. 
Ipse est magister - Once converted, Jesus leads the soul to the wounds of his feet so that it might persevere, saying: "Flee, daughter, from the near occasions of sin, lest you reopen these wounds and trample this blood. Your sins would then serve as nails." [The soul responds]: "Lord, make my steps steadfast in your paths...” "Make my foot stand on level ground.” "Walk while you have the light." 
These first three weekdays of Holy Week the Gospel will ask us to reflect on Judas. Today it is a contrast between Judas and Mary of Bethany. Mary enters and anoints the feet of Jesus. She seeks to serve. Judas complains about the extravagance, but it is clear he seeks to serve himself.
In many ways the events of this week can be seen as a march toward death, yet here we find an affirmation of life. In our own day life may seem an adversary to some. The move toward euthanasia and the emphasis on abortion and the death penalty tell us that the sacredness of life is still unknown to some. Jesus, as the very source of life, is unknown to those who seek to kill him. Yet Mary seeks to be the nurturing, hospitable presence to Jesus in spite of all the array of the powers of death against him.
St. Gaspar asks us to imitate the actions of Mary of Bethany. In seeking to somehow compensate for all the acts of violence against life, Gaspar calls his missionaries and his correspondents to prayer, the wine cellar, to the feast where Jesus can be anointed again with the oil of gladness, where even in the face of death we are willing to reverence and affirm life. He draws us to his wounded feet for acts of reverence so as not to become the nails that pierce him. With Mary of Bethany we come to Jesus to serve him and to compensate for Judas who still seeks to serve himself.
 Song 2:4 (Douay-Rheims version).
 Jn 19:28
 Ps. 84:10.
 From "In omnibus divites factis in Illo," a treatise by St. Gaspar del Bufalo, translated by Fr. John Colacino, CPPS. Gaspar quotes the passage "look upon the face of your anointed" three times in the short treatise.
 He is our teacher
 Cf. Ps. 17:5
 Cf. Ps. 26:12.
 Cf. Jn. 12:35.
 From "In omnibus divites factis in Illo," a treatise by St. Gaspar del Bufalo,
Luke 22:14 - 23:56
The passion according to Luke
Especially in certain cases, we do everything if we pray and we suffer and if we remain silent. So, any thought that might be productive of anguish is dissipated. God is a God of Peace; yes, in bitter things, even the extremely bitter things: "Ecce in pace amaritudo mea amarissima." So, put aside any feelings of depression; let us joyfully carry the Cross, let us live by the Cross, let us die with the Cross. 
"While praying one day and while contemplating the Crucifix, it seemed that I heard these words: "Look, my son, at my divine Blood. Through sufferings, I poured it out and through sufferings will its adoration be promoted." Humankind shudders at the word suffering, but it is nevertheless necessary for one to learn to carry the Cross. 
For St. Gaspar the cross was the only book we would need. Here alone one learns the lessons of love, not in formulas, prayers, or sermons (or even internet reflections), but in a life given. The cross is the chair of truth. Here we see truly humankind at its worst, crucifying the innocent one. Here, too, we see humanity at its best, in a faithful life given for others. This mystical ladder to heaven can truly only be lived, not understood. And if it is understood, it can only be grasped by one who has loved, and has struggled to love.
Our God is not an abstraction found in the pages of a book. Our God is found in this person, Jesus. God has become one with us, has experienced our pain, our wants and our disappointments. God's love is to be lived in all its frustrating difficulty by the followers of Jesus. We know that only in giving, completely, and selflessly as Jesus does, do we gain life itself. With St. Gaspar we say over and over, "Superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione." I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation. (2 Cor. 7:4)
 "Ecce in pace" appears to be a quote from Isaiah 38:17(Vulgate) "ecce in pace amaritudo mea amarissima tu autem eruisti animam meam ut non periret proiecisti post tergum tuum omnia peccata mea" Isaiah 38:17 (Douay). Behold in peace is my bitterness most bitter: but thou hast delivered my soul that it should not perish, thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
 to Mother Dionisia Tirletti, August 23, 1835, Letter 2959, Strokes of the Pen V, 15.6, pg 39
 to Sister Maria Giuseppa Pitorri, Letter 3785, Quotation 5, Strokes of the Pen V, 15:20, pg. 43
Omnia Christus Est Nobis
Christ is everything for us!
I am a Roman Catholic Priest from California. I spent 13 wonderful years years as a member of the Province of the Pacific in the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. The outline of my life can be traced here.