One of the terrific things about Eastertide is a reminder of the inherent transitoriness of evil and ill and entropy in all their forms. As we focus on the Resurrection, fixing our eyes on the Firstborn from the Dead, all ills around us are put into perspective.
A death, an acquaintance's terminal illness or the growing awareness that certain people in one's life, even if in good health now, are of such an age as to have before them only a couple more years at most; the knowledge that man is mortal and that decay is inherent in our present nature..... but for more than 24 hours Christ was a corpse, and now He is still alive 2000 years later. The tomb is still there and still empty.
Likewise, I find myself still plagued by vices and faults. Occasionally, I might manage the superhuman feat of not resenting a person for bruising my ego by implying I'm not perfect. Or, conversely, I might plunge myself into resignation and self-loathing when my weaknesses become undeniable, declaring to God that He ought to just give up because, clearly, the whole sanctification thing still isn't working..... but Christ, having borne up under the sins of the world, submitting to the greatest crime humanity ever perpetrated - deicide - did not end as victim but as victor. The crime did not go on to breed vengeance, retribution, further injustice as we are used to crimes doing. It was swallowed up by love and instead brought forth life. God has caused the greatest evil to become the wellspring for the malicious and wretched human creatures of the very life of God. If He can do that, do I really think Him impotent before my own petty sins?
Infectious goodness is available. God is strong enough to cast the darkness from within me, strong enough to render the human race hale and whole once more, to put joy in place of despair and love in place of ego, strong enough to heal the whole universe of its slide into chaos and entropy. He has conquered in His own person wrong and imperfection, death and decay. There is a new kind of man in the universe. The human condition that presses itself upon my experience is not necessary or inevitable. It is transient. It is provisional. Glory and beauty and goodness and life and love are inevitable. The rest are on their way out. Ineluctably, though perhaps for the moment imperceptibly, they have begun to fade.
Sin and death are mysteries. They don't fit the universe and, throughout history, we have never had anything with which to fight them. So we resigned ourselves to them and told ourselves they were normal by saying things like, "Well, I'm only human," or "Death is just a part of life." But look now upon the Risen Christ. Here is the true 'only human', really human and no imperfection, character flaw, fault or vice has any part in Him. Here is true life, the truly Living and death has no more power over Him. Now we know that sin and death have an end. They are foreign to the universe and will be expelled. For the moment, I may fall under the burden of my weaknesses and vices. One day I will cease to breathe and become lifeless. But none of these things defines me. It is the Risen Christ Who defines me. The day is coming when what is true of Him will be true of all things, for all things await the blessed subjugation that He brings, a subjugation that is in fact a liberation from every imperfection, even those we despair of being freed from, even those we've persuaded ourselves are natural, even those we've persuaded ourselves are desirable.
Christos anesti! Alithos anesti! Alleluia. Come, Lord Jesus.
BOOKS RECEIVED: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment - Anything written by Edward Feser is reliable and worth time. He recently joined forces with Joseph M. Bessette to create a new book exploring Catholic tea...
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