[In my last post, I wrote “The resurrection of the dead does not undo or repay the gift of the martyr’s life, but makes the gift lasting. This is the treasure in heaven for every good work: that our gifts shall endure forever in God, in whom all good works are done.” This struck me as absolutely wonderful, and thoroughly in keeping with the gospel. However, I realised afterwards, that this was an understanding of heaven and life everlasting which hadn’t mentioned Jesus, or his death and resurrection, and so what I said was either wrong or incomplete, and so I set to work.]
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, entered into our suffering and death, that in these we may find the one who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25), and be united with him. He died, that he might bring life to death. Death tried to digest him, corruption tried to destroy him, but instead life incorruptible burst forth in the tomb itself. His life and his gift, were perfect, divine, and had no weaknesses to be attacked, and so his gift was perfect, a living sacrifice, and unbreakable. In giving up his life it suffered no decrease, but was unleashed upon the world.
When the martyr offers up their life, they do so with Jesus, and in Jesus, and through Jesus, and so their gift is united with his; they enter Christ’s own sepulchre, and by the abundance of Christ’s life, their offering is made perfect, and raised in Jesus himself. There is no resurrection except in union with him who is the resurrection and the life.
Our complete offering of our lives, is united to Christ’s complete, perfect and divine offering of his own life, and perfected by this union, so that we appropriate the life of The Life.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
We unite ourselves to the way and the truth and the life, by following his way, accepting his truth, and so living his life. We must take up our crosses and follow him, believe in Jesus, and eat the Bread of Life. We must follow Jesus to death, that we may die with him and live with him.
The choice of this present life, is how to live. I can walk through life my own way, and I will one day arrive at my grave, where the worms await, to rot away my life of corruption. Or I can follow Jesus, walking the way of the cross, arriving at his cross and his tomb, where the perfect, incorruptible Son of God met the moment of our corruption and overcame, where life was swallowed by death, and burst forth so abundantly he swallowed death.
‘for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ…
‘So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven…
‘When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.’ 1 Corinthians 15:22,42-49,54-58
God bless you!
P.S. I actually stumbled upon the passage from 1 Corinthians last, after having completely forgotten it (apart from, I guess, subconsciously). I was actually hesitant with these thoughts, for fear that they were not in scripture, or were an invention of my own mind. Glory to God, that He allowed me to forget, that I might follow the apostle’s thinking, and see the perfect unity of revelation!
God bless you!
P.P.S. (11th August) I forgot to include how this involves the sacraments of the Church. I feel it is too late now, and I don’t have anything extraordinary to say on it anyway, but I will add quickly:
‘For we are buried together with him by baptism into death: that, as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.’ (Rm 6:4)
And the Holy Eucharist is both the once for all sacrifice upon the cross, and the risen Bread of Life, as he said,
‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.’ (Jn 6:57-58)
I haven’t said much, and I can’t say about the other sacraments, but I’m sure, as they demand and enliven our lives, they too must flow through the cross and the holy sepulchre and the resurrection.
One last thing I’d like to add:
‘He is risen, he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.’ (Mk 16:6)