St-Gregory-the-DialogistDearly beloved brethren, ye have heard the deed of the holy women which had followed the Lord;

how that they brought sweet spices to His sepulchre, and, now that He was dead, having loved Him while He was yet alive, they followed Him with careful tenderness still.

But the deed of these holy women doth point to something which must needs be done in the holy Church.

And it behoves us well to give ear to what they did, that we may afterward consider with ourselves what we must do likewise after their ensample.

We also, who believe in Him that was dead, do come to His sepulchre bearing sweet spices, when we seek the Lord with the savour of good living, and the fragrant report of good works.

Those women, when they brought their spices, saw a vision of Angels, and, in truth, those souls whose godly desires do move them to seek the Lord with the savour of good lives, do see the countrymen of our Fatherland which is above.

It behoves us to mark what this means, that they saw the Angel sitting on the right side. For what signifies the left, but this life which now is? or the right, but life everlasting?

Whence also it is written in the Song of Songs: “His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me” (2:6).

Since, therefore, our Redeemer had passed from the corruption of this life which now is, the angel which told that His undying life was come, sat, as became him, on the right side.

[…] As the Lord, rising again from the dead, leads us unto the mansions above, He repairs the breaches of the heavenly Fatherland. But what does this mean, that the Angel said unto the women which came to the sepulchre: “Fear not”?

Is it not as though he had said openly: “Let them fear which love not the coming of the heavenly countrymen; let them be afraid who are so laden by fleshly lusts, that they have lost all hope ever to be joined to their company.

“But as for you, why fear ye, who, when ye see us, see but your fellow-countrymen?”

Hence also Matthew, writing of the guise of the Angel, “His countenance was like lightning, and His raiment white as snow” (28:3). The lightning speaks of fear and great dread, the snow of the soft brilliancy of rejoicing.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homilies on the Gospels, 21 (from Mattins of Easter in the Old Breviary.