Cardinal Sandri reflects on John Paul II’s courage as he followed Our Lord through to the end of his pontificate.
Cardinal Sandri reflects on John Paul II’s courage as he followed Our Lord through to the end of his pontificate.
I’m sort of loggy and hung over from long days at work this week.
Maybe that’s why.
Maybe that’s not why.
Maybe it’s because of something else.
All I know is that I don’t care if Pope Francis called a woman in Argentina and told her she could take communion. If he did, ok. If he didn’t, that’s ok, too.
Whatever he said or didn’t say, it was a personal conversation between priest and person, not The Pope, speaking from the Chair of Peter and defining the faith for the entire Church.
I am all worn out from the legislative wars of this week. I am also at a loss about how to keep my mother on an even keel while I’m at work and away from her for so many hours. She is, in this in particular, like a small child. She gets separation anxiety when I’m out of sight for too long and nothing can fix it but time with me.
I’ve tried having my secretary call her every hour and remind her that I’m working and I’ll see her later. That helps, but it doesn’t fix it. I’ve asked the people at her day care to remind her that I’m at work, also. Again, it helps, but it’s not a fix.
Yesterday, I was in the middle of debate on a bill, mike in hand, giving it my best, when my phone lit up. It was Mama. When I talked to her later, she said, “I want to ask you to forgive me.”
“Forgive you for what?” I said.
“Forgive me for whatever I’ve done that has made you go away from me and not see me.”
I get one of those apologies (usually with tears) at least once every day.
She forgets, no matter how many times people tell her, that I’m at work. She also forgets that it’s only been a few hours since I saw her. She doesn’t believe that I’ll see her again in a little while.
I never knew before going through this with her that living in the now was such a tortuous thing. Do not make light of your short-term memory. It is a major governor on your life that keeps things steady and gives you perspective and reality about everything and everyone you encounter.
When I got up this morning — after getting home from work at about 11pm and sleeping for only a few hours — my mind was basically cottage cheese. The possibility that I would write a two-word sentence that was comprehensible was slim to none.
I did my due. Took Mama out for lunch. Took Mama to the doctor. Took Mama for a drive and her daily ice cream.
Now, she’s sleeping it off like a baby. She’ll wake up soon and she won’t remember any of it. The new story will be that she hasn’t eaten or seen me all day long.
She will call people and tell them that I’ve left her alone in the house for days and that I won’t give her food and that she’s slowly starving to death.
Then, she’ll eat supper and chill out, watching ESPN until bedtime.
Now … what was I saying about Pope Francis and the Argentine lady and communion?
I don’t care.
Kevin Sorbo, star of God is Not Dead, shares his remarkable story of faith, including how his faith helped him through a traumatic health crisis that could have killed him or left him an invalid.
As his wife says in the video, “He’s a good guy.”
This is a touching description by the woman who experienced it of the miracle from John Paul II that saved her life.
We are the light of the world. Pope Francis reminds us not to hide that light, but to joyously let it shine.
Patheos Public Square included this interview that Pope Benedict XVI gave in September before his resignation about religion and violence.
THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE OF RELIGION IS AGAINST VIOLENCE
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) – As is traditional during the course of his apostolic trips, Benedict XVI granted a brief interview to the journalists accompanying him on his flight to Lebanon, in which he turned his attention to various issues associated with the situation in the Middle East.
Question: “Your Holiness, many terrible anniversaries are occurring at this time, for example that of the 11 September attacks, and the massacre at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. On the borders of Lebanon a civil war is being fought, amid much bloodshed, and in other countries too we see an ever-present risk of violence. Holy Father, … have you been tempted to cancel your trip for security reasons, or has anyone suggested that you should cancel it?”
Holy Father: “Dear friends, … I can tell you that no one advised me to cancel this journey, and for my part I never considered doing so, because I know that as the situation becomes more complex, it is all the more necessary to offer this sign of fraternal encouragement and solidarity. That is the aim of my visit: to issue an invitation to dialogue, to peace and against violence, to go forward together to find solutions to the problems”.
Q: “Many Catholics are expressing concern about increasing forms of fundamentalism in various parts of the world and about attacks that claim large numbers of Christians as victims. In this difficult and often violent context, how can the Church respond to the imperative of dialogue with Islam, on which you have often insisted?”
Holy Father: “Fundamentalism is always a falsification of religion. It goes against the essence of religion, which seeks to reconcile and to create God’s peace throughout the world. … The essential message of religion must be against violence – which is a falsification of that message, like fundamentalism – and it must educate, illuminate and purify consciences so as to make them capable of dialogue, reconciliation and peace”.
Q: “In the context of the surging clamour for democracy that has begun to spread in many countries of the Middle East through the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, and in view of the social conditions in most of these countries, where Christians are a minority, is there not a risk of an inevitable tension between the dominant majority and the survival of Christianity?”
Holy Father: “I would say that in itself, the Arab spring is a positive thing: it is a desire for greater democracy, greater freedom, greater cooperation and a revived Arab identity. This cry for freedom, which comes from a young generation with more cultural and professional formation, who seek greater participation in political and social life, is a mark of progress, a truly positive development that has been hailed by Christians too. Of course, bearing in mind the history of revolutions, we know that this important and positive cry for freedom is always in danger of overlooking one aspect – one fundamental dimension of freedom – namely tolerance of the other, the fact that human freedom is always a shared freedom, which can only grow through sharing, solidarity and living side by side according to certain rules. … We must do all we can to ensure that the concept of freedom, the desire for freedom, goes in the right direction and does not overlook tolerance, the overall social fabric, and reconciliation, which are essential elements of freedom. Hence the renewed Arab identity seems to me to imply also a renewal of the centuries-old, millennia-old, coexistence of Christians and Arabs, who side by side, in mutual tolerance of majority and minority, built these lands and cannot do other than live side by side. I therefore think it important to recognise the positive elements in these movements and to do all we can to ensure that freedom is correctly conceived and corresponds to growth in dialogue rather than domination of one group over others”.
Q: “In Syria today, as in Iraq a while ago, many Christians have felt obliged, reluctantly, to leave their homeland. What does the Catholic Church intend to do or say in order to help in this situation and to stem the flow of Christians from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries?”
Holy Father: “First of all I must say that it is not only Christians who are leaving, but also Muslims. Naturally, there is a great danger of Christians leaving these lands and their presence there being lost, and we must do all we can to help them to stay. The essential way to help would be to put an end to the war and violence which is causing this exodus. Therefore the first priority is to do all we can to halt the violence and to open up a real possibility of staying together for the future. What can we do against war? Of course we can always spread the message of peace, we can make it clear that violence never solves problems and we can build up the forces of peace. … Christian gestures may also be of help: days of prayer for the Middle East, for Christians and Muslims, to demonstrate the possibilities for dialogue and for solutions. I also believe that there must be an end to the importation of arms: without which, war could not continue. Instead of importing weapons, which is a grave sin, we should import ideas of peace and creativity, we should find ways of accepting each person in his otherness, we should therefore make visible before the world the respect that religions have for one another, respect for man as God’s creation and love of neighbour as fundamental to all religions. In this way, using all possible means, including material assistance, we must help to bring an end to war and violence so that all can help rebuild the country”.
Q: “Besides prayer and sentiments of solidarity, do you see concrete steps that the Churches and the Catholics of the West, especially in Europe and America, can take in order to support their brethren in the Middle East?”
Holy Father: “I would say that we need to influence public opinion and politicians to make a real commitment, using all their resources, all their opportunities, with real creativity, in favour of peace and against violence. No one should hope to gain from violence, all must contribute positively. … Moreover, our charitable organisations should offer material help and do everything they can. We have organisations like the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, specifically for the Holy Land, but other similar organisations could also provide material, political and human assistance in these lands. I would like to say once again that visible signs of solidarity, days of public prayer, and other such gestures can catch the attention of public opinion and produce concrete results”.
It promises to be the day of the popes, both living and canonized.
Never before have two living popes been present at the canonization of two other popes. But if Pope Emeritus Benedict feels up to it, that is what will happen at the Vatican this Sunday. Pope Emeritus Benedict says he will attend the upcoming canonization of Popes John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Pope Francis, who is our sitting pope, will preside.
From Catholic News Service:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II April 27, said Msgr. Liberio Andreatta, head of the Vatican-related pilgrim agency, Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.
“Never before have there been two popes canonized and two popes living,” he said at a news conference in Rome April 23 to discuss final plans and preparations for pilgrims. “You can imagine their emotions!”
However, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, continued to caution journalists, saying that while the retired pope certainly had been invited to the Mass, “we’ll have to wait and see” if, at 87 years old, he feels up to attending.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave a rare interview this week in which he discussed the upcoming canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
“In the years i which I collaborated with him, it was ever clearer to me that John Paul II was a saint,” he said.
“John Paul II did not ask for applause nor did he look around worried about how his decisions were going to be received. He acted based on his faith and his convictions, and he was also wiling to take hits. The courage for truth is, in my view, a primary measure of holiness.
“My memory of John Paul II is filled with gratitude. I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to imitate him, but I have tried to carry forward his legacy and his work the best that I could,” the Pope Emeritus said.
Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII will be canonized this Sunday.
From Catholic New Agency:
Rome, Italy, Apr 23, 2014 / 12:47 pm (CNA).- In a rare interview, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recalled his close friendship with Blessed John Paul II, saying that the pontiff’s sanctity and deep spirituality were apparent during his life.
“In the years in which I collaborated with him, it was ever clearer to me that John Paul II was a saint,” said Benedict XVI during an interview with Polish journalist Wlodzimierz Redzioch, which was published April 20 in the Spanish newspaper “La Razon.”
“Naturally, his intense relationship with God, being immersed in communion with the Lord, needs to be taken into account above all,” the former Pope said of his predecessor.
Benedict XVI, who served under Pope John Paul II as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the Polish pontiff courageously “embraced his task in a truly difficult time.”
Film makers are asking individuals to contribute so that they can make a movie about Kermit Gosnell.
This is called crowdfunding.
Watch the video below and consider if you would like to help them.
The latest salvo in the push for legalizing euthanasia is to kill kids.
What was once supposed to be all about putting down people who were suffering horribly and in the last stages of terminal illness and who requested their own death has now become killing people who can’t consent and are nowhere near dying.
It has evidently occurred to a few people in America that we’ve got an euthanasia gap. Belgium has jumped ahead of us and allows their docs to kill children and people with dementia. But never fear: the euthanasia movement has found someone who is willing to tell us all about the tragic experience of euthanizing his toddler granddaughter by slow starvation and how we need to do something to kill these kids faster.
I’m normally not so sarcastic about people who step forward and take positions that I find appalling. I know that they are just people and that they probably believe in what they are doing. I think they need conversion, not the destruction of public attack.
But this push to expiate personal guilt by politicizing the victim’s death in order to change the law and open the flood gates on medical murder of children is a bridge too far.
I’ve been reading the stories about Bradley Newton’s heart-rending tale of how horrible it was for him to watch his granddaughter starve to death; how painful and hideous this death was and how he’s traumatized by it all.
What he’s leaving out is that he and the rest of his family were the people who starved this child to death. The victim is the little girl, not them.
Not content to have done such a terrible thing, Mr Newton and the rest of his family have made little Natalie the poster child for a campaign to legalize euthanasia for children. He’s appeared on CNN and other news shows, where I’m sure he got the tender and heartfelt sympathy of the interviewer for the “agonizing decision” he and his family made to slowly starve this child to death.
The family has set up a web site in “honor” of the baby they slowly killed. They petitioned the governor of Texas to “spare” others by allowing quicker ways to kill kids.
Watching Mr Newton’s teary interview pulls at my heart. He’s done a terrible thing and it bothers him. I identify with that. I also know how overwhelming and forceful the white coat people can be when your loved one is in the hospital. Any of us can fall prey to their pushy “advice,” especially when we don’t walk into the situation with values and beliefs about these things to guide us.
However, Mr Newton doesn’t want forgiveness. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. His response to his grief is to use his granddaughter’s death to multiply the harm. According to him the fault lies in the law that makes it too hard to euthanize children.
He, and at least part of the rest of Natalie’s family, blame everybody else for their actions. They’ve done everything but admit that they were not forced to submit this little girl to death by starvation, that murdering her in this way was their free choice. They could have chosen to let her live.
Their solution for their remorse is to campaign to turn this one murder into a cause for legalizing mass murder. That makes this grandfather’s grief a lot less touching.
The tragedy began when 21-month-old Natalie drowned in the family’s backyard pool. Doctors were able to revive her, but she suffered permanent brain damage that required her to be on a feeding tube. According to Mr Newton, the hospital “ethics” committee recommended that they “let her go.” But the only legal way to do this was to withdraw her feeding tube and let this 21-month-old child slowly starve to death over a period of nine days.
The articles I’ve read said that Natalie was “brain dead.” I don’t think that’s accurate. She clearly could breathe on her own, since the method of euthanizing her was to starve her to death. What her condition actually was, I don’t know. There are no facts about her condition in the stories surrounding this case; only lots of manufactured sympathy for the family which was “forced” to starve her and zero concern for the child they starved.
What passes for sympathy for Natalie is an aggressive politicizing of her death so that it can be used to allow quicker, more “merciful” ways to kill children in the future.
Here’s a news flash for everyone: Natalie should not have been murdered. Killing a person by actively, deliberately and with premeditation ending their life is murder.
Legislatures can pass laws saying that it is not murder. Legislatures can also pass laws saying that the moon is made of green cheese. They can make other statutes repealing the law of gravity. Ethics committees can vote that killing is the “ethical” thing to do and bamboozle families into putting down their loved ones. None of these laws and “ethical” votes will affect the reality that this is murder, because reality is not all that impressed with legislators and ethics committees.
Whatever you call it, however you disguise it, actively, deliberately and with premeditation ending the life of another person is murder and there is no law, lawmaker or ethics committee on this planet with the power to change that.
Natalie was horribly, cruelly murdered by her own family. Now her grandfather is using his sorrow over the “agonizing decision” they made, and the trauma he suffered from having participated in her slow, painful death to lobby the country for laws that would allow us to euthanize kids.
Natalie should not have been starved to death. That was the “agonizing” choice the family should have made. They should have said “no” to the ethics committee.
The decision to starve her to death is the kind of thinking I would expect from an “ethics committee.” I learned long ago that “ethics” is a nice-sounding synonym for no morals and no compassion.
No one can claim that this was a kindness to Natalie. I’ve talked to nurses who had to care for elderly people whose families decided to murder by withdrawing fluids and nutrition. Their descriptions of the resulting deaths are horrific. One question I have is why the “grieving family” whose trauma over this is so great that they feel compelled to campaign for legalizing ways to kill kids quicker didn’t call a halt to it and restore the feeding tube once they saw what it was like.
Natalie was murdered because not murdering her would have been a costly inconvenience for everyone, but most particularly for the medical ethicists who voted for her death. The recommendation of this committee was a classic case of putting a little girl out of the medical industry’s misery.
For those of you who don’t know, the Sisters of Perpetual indulgence is a drag act featuring gay men dressed as nuns.
I assume that everyone knows what Bingo is and who Planned Parenthood is.
Put all this together and shake twice, and you’ve got an in-your-face-Catholics fundraising event for Seattle Planned Parenthood.
The invitation for Planned Parenthood’s tasteful soiree says in part:
Bar Nun Bingo will feature fantastic prizes, happy hour food prices, and delightful special guests from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan, a Capitol Hill organization that educates the public on safer sex, queer rights, and other critical community issues.
This year, Planned Parenthood will offer two nights of fun: Tuesday, April 22nd, at Poquitos and Thursday, April 24th, at the Pike Brewing Company! Come to one or both nights. We can’t wait to see you!
God Is Not Dead, the low budget surprise hit of the season, is drawing audiences and brickbats that seem out of proportion to the movie itself.
God Is Not Dead is an uber low-budget film that opened in a limited number of theaters to consistently terrible reviews. The movie has a predictable plotline and, with the exception of Kevin Sorbo, who had the starring role in the television series Hercules, unknown actors.
Yet it is pulling in the $$. The small side theaters where it is showing are filling up. It’s been in those theaters long enough for any roll that accrued to the film through early direct marketing to churches has died. But the audiences keep coming, and, surprisingly, they are mostly young people who cheer and applaud when the film’s hero vanquishes the villain.
At the same time, a matching vitriol, not toward the film itself, but toward it’s message, is dotting the internet like a bad case of chickenpox.
What’s with this little film?
I didn’t get around to seeing the movie until recently, so I attended it with a post-direct-marketing audience. I personally witnessed the full theater of young people, with late-comers going from aisle to aisle, looking for a seat. I saw and heard the entire audience cheer and clap at the gotcha line aimed at the villainous professor.
I came home wondering if this was an Oklahoma thing. I looked at the box office results, and it turned out that $2 million God Is Not Dead was in range with $125 million Noah for the weekend’s box office. Meanwhile the Christian-bashing thought meisters of the internet were in a rageful froth over the film’s astonishing success.
Predictably, this spiteful jabbing was aimed, not at the film itself, but at Christians in general. The basic message in these opinion pieces is simple. Here’s the gist of it: YOU CHRISTIANS ARE STUPID, PARANOID FOOLS! YOU ARE NOT PERSECUTED!!!! NOW SIT DOWN, SHUT UP AND STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON A FILM WITH A MESSAGE TO THE CONTRARY OF WHAT WE TELL YOU!!!
It turns out that there are at least three underlying messages in the success of God Is Not Dead, and only one of them is in the film itself.
I think that God Is Not Dead is somewhat analogous to the Billy Jack movies of the 70s. It has a message that strikes a powerful chord with the younger generation of Christians. Every Christian kid who’s sat in a classroom while the professor derides people of faith, or who has been belittled and given lower grades for standing firm on their beliefs, knows from their own life experience that this movie is based on reality. I think that’s the reason that this movie has legs, and I also think it’s the reason that young adults in the audience burst into applause and cheers when the student zapped the bullying professor.
I know from personal experience that nothing gets the Christian-bashing crowd going more than Christians who call Christian bashing what it is. They turn personal in one ugly step. I’ve been accused of all sorts of things, including indifference to the mass murder of millions, because I raise these issues.
The Christians-are-crazy crowd is really heaping it on right now because of the surprise success of God Is Not Dead. They appear to be confounded by the fact that people will spend their money and go watch a film with a message about Christian bashing in higher education. According to them, Christians who believe that Christian bashing exists in higher education are all a bunch of paranoid hayseeds with very small brains.
What they fail to see is that this attitude in much of the media, along with the undeniable Christian bashing that occurs in a great deal of higher education, is exactly why God Is Not Dead is striking such a chord with so many people. It speaks to their experience, an experience which is denied, derided and belittled by both big-time entertainment and the internet mavens who are jabbing at God Is Not Dead’s surprising success.
I honestly thought that this movie had the possibility of a good run when I saw the previews for it. I knew that the Christian bashing that the film dramatizes is happening and that a lot of Christians are beginning to get enough of it.
I’m glad God Is Not Dead is a success. My reason is simple: I want Christian young people to stop allowing themselves to be bullied in the halls of academia by professors with personal problems.
To the extent that God Is Not Dead raises the self-awareness of Christian young people and helps then find their courage, I think it is a very good film, indeed.
Without Sherpas, climbing Mount Everest would go back to being the province of true mountaineers. The high-risk tourism of unprepared, unskilled and feckless amateurs scaling the world’s tallest mountain is built entirely on the courage and remarkable stamina of the local Sherpa population.
There have been creaks in the burgeoning adventure tourism that Mt Everest has become before now. Sherpas staged a one-day strike last year, asking for higher wages and better working conditions. But this year a tragedy has ignited something much bigger.
Sherpas have staged a walk out, or maybe it’s a walk down, leaving their wealthy, Everest-conquering-wannabe clients stranded at base camp. The Sherpa walk out was a response to the tragic death of 13 of their colleagues in an avalanche a few days ago. At least 13 Sherpa guides were killed, three are still missing and at least three others are in intensive care in Kathmandu for injuries sustained in the avalanche.
The Sherpas were trying to fix ropes and carve out a route up the mountain at the Khumbu Icefall when the avalanche swept through. The icefall is not far from the Everest Base Camp, where wealthy foreign climbers waited for the Sherpas to set things up for them.
Everest has become a bit of a scandal due to the large numbers of people who tackle the mountain through guided tours. Many of these people have relatively little mountaineering experience. For instance my husband — who has zero experience at mountaineering — once asked an adventure tour guide how much it would cost to get him to the top of Everest. The guide answered with a high-dollar figure and told him, “I can get you on the mountain, but you have to be crazy to get to the top.” The guide was quite willing to book a spot for my husband on his next tour.
This sort of thing explains why the Sherpas were at the Khumbu Icefall, putting down fixed ropes and ladders, and hacking a path while the tourists lounged at Base Camp.
Sherpas are calling for higher compensation for their dangerous work, as well as more insurance and compensation for the families of the dead and injured climbers.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria spoke of Easter hope in the midst of suffering Sunday.
“We … cannot let Boko Haram have the final word … there is a greater force (than Boko Haram) and we there should not be overcome by a terrible fear and even paranoia that we are unable to even go out to worship,” he said.
Nigerian Christians celebrated the Resurrection in the midst of mourning. Seventy-nine people were recently killed in a bomb blast, and 129 school girls were abducted by the Islamic group to be used as slaves. Forty-four of these girls have managed to escape, a fact that gives hope.
I wrote a post earlier, asking why the government can’t track Boko Haram down and end them. It seems to me that having 44 girls who have escaped and could give information would be a major aid in doing just that.
In the meantime, Archbishop Kaigama says that Nigeria Christians, “… believe that God cannot abandon us and as a Church we continue to pray and preach nonviolence and we continue to inspire confidence in people. We should only succumb and subject ourselves to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life and who is the Resurrection.”
That thought, that we should only subject ourselves to Jesus is the essence of Christian freedom. It the call of every Christian, everywhere. Our only master should be Our Lord, which means that the many things we submit ourselves to in this life are a false calling. In the final analysis, none of us answers to anyone but Him, and, again in the final analysis, each and every one of us actually does answer to Him.
Calvary is the fulcrum of history.
Everything changed on that hill called Golgotha 2,000 years ago. Three days later, when the stone rolled away, God put His final redemptive imprimatur on the story of our salvation.
Before that Day in the garden outside the empty tomb, when He looked at the woman and said, Mary!, Solomon’s ancient wail of “Vanity, vanity; all is vanity,” was the summation of the reality of human existence.
But Calvary and what He did there, the garden and Who the woman met there, changed all that forever.
Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, for you will surely die, God told them.
“You will not die,” Satan countered, in one of the deceptive lies disguised in a seeming truth that he uses so often against us.
And they did not die.
But death was born into the world with that first bite of disobedience. The scales fell from their eyes and they knew. They fouled their primal innocence with willfulness, and they knew shame; first the shame of their nakedness, and then the shame of their fallenness.
Their first action was to hide from God because, as they told Him, “We were ashamed because we were naked.”
God’s answer illuminates their changed condition, Who told you that you were naked?
Their second action was to blame one another.
Primal innocence was gone in a single bite of the apple of disobedience, replaced by primal love of self.
Humankind denied this loss throughout its history, denies it even to this day. Self-will battles with God’s will in each of us every moment of our lives. And yet, there is in each of us, encoded in our souls, a haunting memory of who we really are, and an inchoate longing that will not be silenced for what we have lost.
“Our hearts are made for thee,” St Augustine said. And so they are.
God-longing is a part of the human condition, as is a hunger for transcendence and lost innocence. Separated as we are, this longing festers into resentment and denial, while the hunger congeals on our souls as hubris and self-worship.
The curse of lost innocence drives us to rageful disobedience. It ensnares us in our own desires and, if we let it, murders us with the excesses those desires breed in our lives.
Throughout human history this pull of longing for God and lost innocence has played against the push of the hubris of our self-aggrandizements and twisted desires. The tension it creates drives us into a universal acceptance of insanity. We kill one another and we kill ourselves in as many ways as the human story can devise. Our blood-soaked history of suffering and misery has one message: We cannot save ourselves.
The God-hunger encoded in us and the God-image inside of us, drive us to seek propitiation. From moloch to corporatism, we feed our lives and the lives of our children into the empty maw of false gods of our devising. We seek our lost transcendence in debauchery and achievement; in doing good and doing bad; in war making and peace making; in causes and rights and laws.
We try to achieve a lost immortality by looking as Ted Bundy did, into the eyes of those we kill and persuading ourselves that in that moment when the light of life fades we are like gods. We attempt to overcome our finite hopelessness by doing good works, and advancing humankind through the achievements of our efforts and our minds.
But in the end, we are but dust. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.
God does not force us. He doesn’t reach down and re-invent us back to our lost innocence.
That is not cruelty as some claim. It is love and longing. Love, to be love, must be freely given. Our love for Him must be ours to give or withhold, or it is not love at all.
So God led us gently over long years and slow changes to the moment when He stepped into our history as one of us in order to offer us a Way. Jesus had to die because by dying He became the ultimate sacrificial lamb, the complete propitiation for our sins. He made it right by offering Himself in lieu of us on the altar of life and death.
He was our Passover lamb and Calvary was the ultimate and final Lord’s Passover.
If that is true, then what is the meaning and the necessity of the Resurrection? Wasn’t dying on the cross enough to redeem us?
The answers people give are all true. The Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus is God. The Resurrection is a sign of the resurrection that awaits all of us who accept Him and go through the open doorway of redemption that He represents. He is the Way in a literal and absolute manner. We enter into the Kingdom through Him.
But I think there is another ultimate meaning to the Resurrection. Calvary wasn’t the only way that God could have restored us to Himself. It was the only way He could do it and leave us free.
The Resurrection was the great undoing of that curse we cursed ourselves with in the garden. If you eat of the tree of knowledge, you will surely die.
You will not die, Satan told us, and left out the word “today.”
We believed the lie, and the curse of death, real death that is separation from the Light, entered humanity.
The Resurrection broke that curse. God Himself entered into death, took on the curse, and experienced its depths. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, Jesus cried from the cross as He experienced the cold annihilation of The Alone in its absolute form.
I’ve have written about The Alone that we inflict on one another with our cruelties. But that Alone, which is a foretaste of the pit of hell, is nothing but a foretaste. The real hell, the true Alone, is complete separation from God.
We experience shades of this hell in the bitter blackness of our sinfulness. I have lived a bit of it, both in things I’ve done and things that have been done to me. The pleasure people take in hurting other people is a dark thing that swallows their own humanity.
We can cast other people into The Alone with our rapes, tortures, murders, greed, gossip and pretentious claims to superiority. Every time we do this to another person, we experience a bit of the cold blackness that such actions come from.
The curse of the fall is our daily experience, and that curse is death. The Resurrection broke that curse. God entered into our cursedness and experienced its shattering consequences. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for our sakes.
Then, on the third day, He shattered the curse like a glass by breaking death itself. He cast off death and arose from the grave.
This was different in every way from miracles such as raising Lazarus or the little girl or the young man who was being carried to his burial place. The difference is that He didn’t stand outside death and undo it for a time, He entered into death and dissolved it for all time.
Physical death is a huge thing to us. But to God it appears to be almost trivial. Jesus raised people from the dead as easily as taking a drink of water. Little girl arise, He said. He took pity on a mother’s grief at her son’s funeral procession and raised the young man with a word. Lazarus, come forth He commanded and Lazarus walked out of his tomb.
Physical death isn’t the great divide that it is to us to One who sees both sides of the experience, to the One Who created life in the first place.
The Resurrection isn’t another casual raising of someone from the dead so that they will die again in a few years. The Resurrection is an everlasting casting off of ultimate death altogether.
Eat, and you will surely die.
You will not die … today.
I am the Way … all who believe in Me will never die.
The Resurrection is the end of death. It is the Way out of getting what we deserve.
And it leaves us free. We can accept Him and love Him … or not.
Love is not love unless it is freely given.
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