Resurrection

Victorious

The Resurrection should be understood as a challenge to the world. Death has been overcome, and now, the children of God have nothing left to fear. 

There’s a lot to leave us feeling hopeless in the world today. There’s war, poverty, loneliness, abortion, hatred, murder, human trafficking, racism, addiction, euthanasia, exploitation,  ignorance, terrorism, sexual abuse, genocides, corruption, divorce, torture, and the list just goes on and on. We live, undeniably, in a culture of death and indifference. 

And of course, a culture of death requires and creates for itself a culture of indifference. When we’re surrounded by so much death, the easiest way to deal with it is simply to die inside, closing our eyes and hearts. We package away the suffering in little boxes, which we’ll return to occasionally, to cry a little, give some money, and so relieve what’s left of our consciences a little bit. If we let our hearts open to all the misery and death around us, we’d be unable to let it go on. We would be compelled to stand against the forces of death that surround us.

But what use is it? Who can fight against the empire of death and win? Especially when death reigns even in our own hearts?

ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA! 

You cannot kill a Christian! We cannot die! God is on our side! God has justified the crucified! Nothing can ever overcome the children of God. Nothing can stop the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, we must live in a new manner. The dying things of the world no longer matter. Nothing matters, except the true life we have been given, the life of absolute love, the life of the children of God, the life of heaven. 

Jesus is vindicated, and His way is proven right. And so we can accept Him, His love, His truth, in all His weakness. His death is only half the story. 

And so we can and must walk in His ways, taking up our crosses, the pains and injustices around us, and entering them, transforming them, with a fearless love. Nothing, not even death, can stop the children of God, and that is what we are. 

This is the freedom we must live out in the face of all the death surrounding us on every side. We must live in the victory already won. 
God bless you! Christ is risen! 

The guards vs the women

And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him”. Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
(Matthew 28:2-8)

Something I love in this passage, is how the angel completely ignores the armed guards to speak to these faithful women. I find it beyond wonderful that these representatives of the power of Rome and of the Sanhedrin are nothing to the angel.

I imagine the angel sitting on the stone with the biggest, most childish grin you have ever seen. He swings his legs for the fun of it, or has his legs crossed and leans forward over them in his eagerness. His every word seems like it is holding back, or perhaps just holding, a whole flood of laughter. He has no time and no care for these mortal men standing guard over death.

And notice how different their reactions are: the guards are so shaken, so frightened of him, that they are like dead men; the women on the other hand, are filled with awe and great joy, coming quickly away from the tomb and running to tell the disciples. The women are afraid in a completely different way.

What are they both afraid of? Life. Of course, no one likes death. But it is, well… comfortable. We know death, it’s predictable, it’s easy. But life! Life goes off in a million different directions according to its own whims! Life can’t be predicted or contained, except by death. And now even death has been conquered!

image

Jesus is a weed, breaking through the concrete of death

For the women, this means the hope of absolute life. It means the story of Jesus saving the world is only beginning. It means love is and always will be victorious.

For the guards, this means they are rendered powerless. They have failed to control a corpse! No amount of violence can ever defeat the freedom of the children of God!

God bless you and Alleluia!

The Fear of Repenting

That terrible fear. When you know you have done something awful. And you know you must repent; that it’s the only way out. But you’re scared to. You consider if you could do it later… Or maybe never. Perhaps you could just live with what you’ve done…

Why is repentance so terrifying? Because it involves two terrifying things: judgment, and death. It involves judgment, because it requires revealing ourselves, with all our injustices, and acknowledging God as the just judge. He is the one with the right to judge all transgressions against Him.

It involves death, because it is our lives that we place before Him, and whatever He might do, we are acknowledging our life as being His to deal with, however He chooses. We are giving up our lives.

Why? For Jesus’ sake. We repent, laying our lives at Jesus’ feet, for love of him. Why do we love Jesus? Because he is merciful, because he is loving, and he has taught us love. We go like St. Mary Magdalene to cry on Jesus’ feet [Lk 7:36-50], because we are unworthy, but we love him, and hope that he will show us love too.

The most remarkable thing about our fear of repenting, is that afterwards it seems so absurd. To be so afraid, of what has brought such great liberty! But that is simply how death looks from the perspective of the resurrected. To repent is no less than to lay down our whole lives before Jesus and with Jesus, and so be raised to true life in him.

We must always remember what Pope Francis says:

“The Lord never tires of forgiving, it is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.”

God bless you

Saved through his resurrection

[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)

Lord it is in giving that we receive

Lord it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
-St. Francis of Assisi

Lord it is in giving that we receive.
With God, to give to Him, is to be ready to receive Him in what you have given. What else could please Him? What does God desire but to give?
True giving is always to God, since God will use all things best, and therefore it is always the greatest gift. Therefore true giving is always true receiving. When we give ourselves to others, we offer them space within us, for them.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
To pardon, truly, is to be pardoned. Pardon cannot be received without being given on, and God always offers us His pardon. To relinquish our grasp on the sins of others, into the hands of God’s grace, is to allow God into our sins also. All sin is one, and we cannot hold onto the sins of others while releasing our own; they are thoroughly tied together.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
True life, as revealed in Jesus Christ, is a gift, and the greatest gift is martyrdom; to give absolutely, without recompense.
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.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

God bless you!