Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Reflections

. . . One of the questions that most preoccupies men and women is this: what is there after death? To this mystery today’s solemnity allows us to respond that death does not have the last word, because Life will be victorious at the end. This certainty of ours is based not on simple human reasoning, but on a historical fact of faith: Jesus Christ, crucified and buried, is risen with his glorified body. Jesus is risen so that we too, believing in him, may have eternal life. This proclamation is at the heart of the Gospel message. As Saint Paul vigorously declares: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” He goes on to say: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:14,19). Ever since the dawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has filled the world; from that day forward our resurrection has begun, because Easter does not simply signal a moment in history, but the beginning of a new condition: Jesus is risen not because his memory remains alive in the hearts of his disciples, but because he himself lives in us, and in him we can already savour the joy of eternal life.

– Pope Benedict XVI
Urbi et Orbi
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009

The proclamation of Easter Day is that all is well. . . . Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life. [Jesus’] life and our lives through him, in him. Existence has greater depth and beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary has ever dared to dream.

– Frederick Buechner
“The End is Life”

The undeniable sign of resurrection is joy, looking redeemed, bringing a sense of hope to others that is tangible and irresistible. It is not shallow but deep, abiding, and enduring. Death cannot break its hold, and suffering and persecution often strengthen it. It brings light and remembers to seek out the stars in the darkest part of night. . . . It is the work of reconciliation, and it abhors violence and insensitivity to others’ pain. It knows fear but is not paralyzed or controlled by it. It feeds on the word and trusts in the blood and shares the bread graciously with all. It shoulders the cross and denies itself and turns toward the face of God in all others.

– Megan McKenna
“The Undeniable Sign of Resurrection”

Love and laugh. To the world, sad faces and depressed spirits speak of a buried Christ. If you want to convince people that I am Risen, you must go through life with Easter gladness. You must prove by your lives that you are Risen with Me.

People will not learn of My conquest over death by the arguments of theologians, but by the lives of My followers, My Risen followers. If you are still wearing the grave-clothes of gloom and depression, of fear and poverty, people will think us as tomb-bound still.

No, live in the Spirit of the Garden on that Easter morning. For you, too, I will roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher. Walk unbounded in the Garden with Me, in the Garden of Love, Joy, child-like, boundless Faith – the Garden of Delights.

– The Two Listeners
God Calling

I accept the resurrection as a mystical fact; this is where I part company from many of the modern historical scholars whose work I have learned so much from and whose scholarship I admire. The deepest learning and the wisest mind can never understand the mystery of the resurrection; it cannot, in fact, be “understood,” only known and experienced, beyond words, dogmas, all possible theological formulations by the humbled and mystically awoken heart and through direct divine grace. Until all Christians dare to accept this, there will be endless empty tragicomic “discussion” and “argument.” But accepting this means accepting the entire mystical dimension of Christ’s life, teaching, and death and taking up his undying challenge to us all to realize in more and more daring and radical ways our divine identity.

Until we have begun to live directly and taste and inwardly experience our divine identity, the resurrected Cosmic Christ cannot be known; only by daring to try and “Christ” ourselves can the universal Christ be discovered inside and around us.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Jesus Lives!
The Triumph of Love: An Easter Reflection
He is Risen! (Easter 2007)
Light of Christ (Easter 2008)
The Passion of Christ

Image 1: Alvise Vivavini.
Image 2: Colin McCahon.
Image 3: Bernard Deschler.
Image 4: He Qi.
Image 5: Artist unknown.

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