Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

For most of Lent I have not taken the time to blog. That has more to do with my schedule than anything intentional. Yet it was a good Lent. There were many things that the Lord was showing me. Probably the most crucial was the necessity to live life by embracing the cross.

What I mean by that is this. We typically try to avoid suffering or any unpleasant circumstances. Instead, to embrace the cross means to welcome such trials as an opportunity to be purged of our fleshly tendencies and to be drawn closer to Christ. We learn to embrace even minor irritations (sufferings). We turn them into opportunities of prayer. We learn patience. All of this is what is entailed in embracing the cross.

I have met with a small degree of success in this endeavor. I have had more occasions for failure. But through it all I have had the blessing of experiencing more of the grace of God.

But today is Easter. Today we celebrate the risen Christ. The thing the Lord brings to my mind today is that in the same way that I sought to be conformed to Christ's death during Lent, I must now seek to be so conformed to His resurrection during this holy season of Easter. How can I do that?

First of all, the resurrection life of Christ lives within us. This is a source of great joy. To embrace the resurrection is to live in this joy regardless of any other circumstances I may find myself in. To live in joyful love is to live the life of Christ. It is to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of our world. To do so consistently will result in the light of Christ dispelling the darkness.

Secondly, to embrace the resurrection is to remember that this world is not our final destination. We are destined for heaven. We are called to eternal glory. St. Paul wrote that as we have borne the image of the earthly, so we must bear the image of the heavenly. Christ, the eternal God, truly became man and died. Just as surely, we will be raised, as He was, and become one with Him in heaven.

Embracing the resurrection keeps my focus on heaven. It reminds me to look beyond the petty circumstances of this temporary life. "If, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your mind on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (Col. 3:1)

It is my prayer that as the Lord has graciously granted me a taste of what it is to embrace the cross, so He will also grant me such grace to consistently embrace the resurrection. May He do the same for you, my readers.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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