~ The Cross ~

~ The Lamb ~

The cross is perhaps the best known of all Christian symbols. In the ancient Church the cross was usually depicted without the figure of Christ. It was adorned and decorated as a symbol of the victory Christ won through His suffering. For the ancient world it was a symbol of humiliation, but for Christians it was a symbol of victory and glory. In Christian art, the figure of the suffering Christ was added to the cross only in medieval times.

We refer to Christ as "The Lamb of God," and "The Paschal Lamb," because he was sent as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. We also lovingly refer to Him as "The Good Shepherd," since He is our Shepherd and told Peter to feed His sheep.

~ The Bells ~

~ The Egg ~

In countries like France and Italy the bells are silent from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday. In Germany and central Europe even the bells on farm buildings are still, though they begin to ring again on Holy Saturday. With the bells silent, the farm people of the Middle Ages felt uneasy. So, to comfort themselves and their children, they would say, "The bells have flown to Rome, but they'll come back on Easter.”

The egg is like Jesus’ tomb. It is enclosed, it is quiet, and it seems lifeless. Yet within an egg, the promise of new life is waiting to burst forth. Jesus’ tomb was like an egg until early on Easter when Jesus rose up to a new and glorious life.

~The Butterfly ~

~ The Peacock ~

Butterflies are an apt symbol of the day's meaning. Beginning life as lowly humble caterpillars, they "entomb" themselves in cocoons only to emerge with jewel-colored wings and the ability to soar. What better symbol of the Resurrection -- except maybe for eggs, which had always been symbols of Spring and were items of wonderment to all -- an inanimate object out of which comes life. For Christians, they became the perfect symbol of the tomb Christ conquered.

It was once believed that the flesh of the peacock never corrupts, so peacocks became the classic symbol of immortality. They are an ancient Christian symbol of the Resurrection, and representations of them are found on the tombs of ancient Christians as an expression of their hope to follow Christ in His defeat of death.

~ The Bread of Life ~

~ The Lily ~

Bread and Wine/Wheat and Grapes: Because of the bread and wine they produce, the symbols of wheat and grapes are often used to designate the Eucharist. Bread is the basic food of every culture and of every age in human history. A meal, in which bread is broken and shared, becomes a means of bonding human beings together. Jesus called Himself the "Bread of Life." Following His command, in faith we take and eat this Bread, His Body, and become one with Him. From ancient times wine is associated with banquets, joy and celebration, a gift of God to gladden our hearts. The grapes, like the grains of wheat used for bread, are fruits of the earth and give of themselves in order that we might celebrate and be glad. The wine which becomes His Precious Blood, speaks to us of giving and of sacrifice in order that we might enjoy the benefits of His love in the banquet which is the foretaste of heavenly joy. IHS: IHS stands for the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek.

The lily represents purity, chastity, innocence, and St. Gabriel's trumpet, and is a symbol of Our Lady and used to depict the purity of the Saints, especially SS. Joseph, Francis, Clare, Anthony of Padua, and Catherine of Siena. In America, it has become, too, a symbol of the Resurrection. Legend says that lilies originated with Eve's tears when the first couple was banished from the Garden of Eden. Other legend says that they sprang up from the ground when drops of blood fell to the foot of the Cross. It is interesting that these two legends exist, because Christ, the New Adam, wipes away the tears of the children of Eve who became the children of Mary when Christ gave her to us, through John, from the Cross. Mary herself is symbolized also by another lily, lilium candidum, or the Madonna Lily.

Resurrexit vere!

Christus resurrexit!

Truly, He is Risen!

Christ is Risen!

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