Living Now in the Hope of Eternity: The Resurrection, Are You Ready?
Spirit's indwelling presence within should be unceasingly fostered through prayer, for those in a state of grace are God's sanctuary in the Spirit (see 1 Cor. 6:19). If we find ourselves frequently forgetting for an extended period of time the fact that God is immanently present, if we have become largely unaware that God is indeed sustaining us moment by moment, and if the resurrection seems more a fantasy than a future reality, then perhaps our priorities are distorted and our life has taken a wrong turn. If that should be the case, what is to be done?
The Christian Faith: A Life-Changing and Life-Sustaining Hope
It must be remembered that life in and through and with God is a particular way of life: it is a sacramental life lived in full communion with holy mother Church; it is a life lived by way of the cross in union with Christ; it is an interior life of humility and unceasing prayer in adoration of God in which we are conscious of the indwelling Spirit within, whose compassion and love shapes us and guides us toward our final end of eternal beatitude; it is a life infused with wondrous sanctifying grace in complete abandonment to Christ. It is a life lived in intimate union with a Person -- not simply with a "something." It is a wholly new life as royal members of the household of God.
If we are not living this Christian way of life, then it is time to reverse course. "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). Like the lost son, it is necessary to take stock of a dire situation, recognize its futility and dangerous nature, and thus return with profound sincerity and humility to the Father, that he may place a ring on our finger and sandals on our feet, that the fatted calf may be killed and the celebration begun (see Lk 15:11 ff.).
The Easter season is a sublime and sacred time in which our heart sings: "The Lord is risen!" The wondrous mystery of the resurrection and eternal life awaits, for if we have lost our life for the sake of Christ (Mt. 10:39), if we have been "united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his" (Rom. 6:5). Sustained by this wondrous and astonishing promise that Christ himself has won for us, our life ought to be re-energized with a new and lasting hope that transforms us beyond what we formerly were: "Indeed, the Lord is risen!"
The Holy Father asks us if the Christian faith is for us today a life-changing and life-sustaining hope. "Is it 'performative' for us -- is it a message which shapes our life in a new way, or is it just 'information' which, in the meantime, we have set aside and which now seems to us to have been superseded by more recent information?" (Spe Salvi 10 § 2). That is a profound and serious question; one which each of us must ponder in his or her own heart.
"O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord's Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life" -- The Roman Missal Collect for the Sunday of The Resurrection.
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at catholicpathways.com
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Easter, resurrection, Christian faith and hope, Christ's resurrection, F. K. Bartels
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