Believing in the Resurrection

Satan, the subtle enemy of mankind, attacks the people of God most effectively by sowing seeds of doubt concerning the resurrection of Christ. By this means he aims to reduce the Church’s vision of herself from that of the Body of the victorious risen Lord to that of a religious institution useful to society for charitable works and for supplying individual spiritual needs. To give the devil his due, he has had a large measure of success since the 1960s, but, nevertheless, the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church still holds.

With confidence in this promise we must now work to reverse this dark pressure of doubt, and restore the Church’s vision of herself, united with her Bridegroom, the crucified and glorified Christ. Meditation upon the Resurrection strengthens the faith and hope of the Church.

For the resurrection of Christ is the very foundation stone of our faith. So Paul speaks of `the immeasurable greatness of God’s power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places’ (Ephes, 1: 19-20). What is important to notice here is that the very same power of the Holy Spirit, which raised Christ in his humanity from death to the fulness of glory with the Father, is also at work in us who believe. ‘God made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’. (Ephes. 2: 5-6).

This great transformation of Christ’s humanity through death and resurrection, already included every member of the human race from the beginning of human history until the final coming of Christ. He is truly the corporate Man, in whom lies the destiny of us all. He went to his passion ‘knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God’ (John 13 : 3). Again we have it from St Paul,: ‘All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Col. 1 : 1617). The resurrection of Christ then is truly the beginning of a new creation. ‘ Behold 1 make all things new’, says the Father (Rev. 21 : 5 ); and we who

by faith and baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ have put our whole hope in him already have a place in that new creation. Christ is our life, and we confess him to be Lord and God, as the Father is Lord and God. Indeed, our new life in Christ is also life in the Holy Trinity, the source and goal of all that exists.

The chief consequence of this new life is that the centre of my life is no longer the individual ‘me’, a slave to sin because separated from Christ our righteousness; but rather the centre has now become Christ himself, and in him I find myself to be in the communion of the saints, both the living and the departed.

This great new fact of life in the resurrection I must now live out in the Church community, the body of Christ the head. This new life is constantly renewed in the Eucharist, in which all the members are raised up with Christ to share in his heavenly banquet.

But old habits of life die hard, and we need to work hard for the increase of repentance, faith, hope and love, so as to keep on returning to this our new centre in Christ, inside the Trinity, and to be supported by the prayer of Blessed Mary, the holy apostles, and all the martyrs and saints of the faith. Therefore we need to pray every day, morning and evening at least, pondering over this great mystery of our new life in the crucified and risen Lord, and not to lose heart when the going seems hard and the times dark. In the power of the resurrection we can repel the temptations of Satan by our repentance and acts of faith in prayer.

Let us not fail either to go to confession, say, every two months. The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness through the prayer of the priest, and even more so if he can wisely administer the word of God for our personal needs.

May the risen Christ draw us all up into the light of faith, and keep us from falling in the day of testing. May the ever blessed trinity become the Source and Goal of our life. Amen.

Fr Gregory, CSWG