††††††††††† Every Sunday, as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, we also look forward to our own resurrection with Christ. We express our faith and hope in the Creed.
††††††††††† We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a man like us in every way, yet never sinned (Heb ). We believe that the same Jesus rose from death in his human body and that he lives with God for ever.
††††††††††† We believe also in the resurrection of our body from death and in everlasting life with God.† As St Paul says, "If we have died with Christ, we believe that we are also to live with him" (Rom 6:8).
††††††††††† Even as we state our belief, perhaps we feel that there is a great gap between the creed that we say every Sunday and what we experience every day. It is possible that our belief in the resurrection has no influence whatever on our daily life. But a creed that we really believe in gives rise to faith, confidence and trust. A creed that we really live has an influence on our daily lives, and leads to positive action.
††††††††††† If we think of resurrection as, at least, the ability to keep growing as a person, spiritually and morally, then our human experience is full of resurrection.
††††††††††† It is certain that our bodily life, through ups and downs, reaches a climax and declines. Then weakness and bodily failure prevail, and the body eventually dies. Also our mental faculties have their peaks and troughs, and finally die out. But at the same time our moral and spiritual life can keep growing as we get older and our person is prepared for its final resurrection from bodily death.
††††††††††† We all experience resurrection, whenever we grow in faith, hope, and love. From day to day, we are raised to lasting life when, for example, we develop a better understanding of our selves before others and before God. This self-knowledge often comes to us through pain, illness, or depression, or just through being overlooked.
††††††††††† We have an experience of resurrection also when we pull ourselves together after failure and try again We give proof of resurrection when we run the risk of opening ourselves to the needs of others, and when we develop our talents for the good of others.
††††††††††† We experience the resurrection when we check bitterness, resentment, or anger, and in the same situations find reasons to be thankful and generous.
††††††††††† We have some part in the resurrection when we begin something good and persevere in it, for example, our baptismal commitment, marriage, priesthood or religious profession.
††††††††††† Each new self-revelation humbly accepted, and every new attempt that we make after failure are experiences of resurrection in our daily life. Likewise, the resurrection is revealed in every act of trust in response to another's love, and every effort to broaden our point of view and judge with compassion.
††††††††††† If we come to know resurrection in our daily life, we will have some inkling of what will happen when, with the Risen Christ, we will conquer death of body and mind.
††††††††††† If we open ourselves continually to the love of God and others, whatever happens, we will eventually be taken over by Love in person. When the course of our life reaches its lowest point in death, we will be taken up into an entirely new existence, which is the life of the risen Christ.
††††††††††† We were not made for suffering. We were made for resurrection. We can get too caught up in the mystique of suffering. At first glance, it may seem that St. Francis was too caught up in it. However, we should remember the joyful way that he lived and invited others to live. If we recall the way he died, we will realize how centred he was in the Resurrection. He understood the Cross as the way to his final objective, which was fullness of life in Jesus Christ, his risen Lord.
††††††††††† We are not dealing with some vague expectation or with only a future resurrection. We are living in a reality already present and active, already at work in our lives through our baptism. We are already mysteriously resurrected. At the same time, we are painfully aware that Christís resurrection still hasn't penetrated fully into our daily life. We are and we aren't resurrected. Between these two poles lies our path through life.
††††††††††† Saint Francis incorporated the Cross into the Resurrection in the experiences of his own life. On Alverna the winged Seraph appeared to him crucified, but radiant in glory. The vision filled him with immense joy. But because Francis was still on the road to his goal, the Stigmata caused him physical agony, in fact, a two-year crucifixion.
††††††††††† In those two years especially, Francis endured the test of physical suffering, went through terrible spiritual darkness, and suffered abandonment. But the agony was translated into a deep joy which never left him. Joy came from knowing that he was travelling the path by way of the Cross to resurrection with his Lord. At the end, Sister Death was only a transition from this life to eternal life, in the expectation of his bodily resurrection.
††††††††††† Not the Cross but the Resurrection is our goal in life. Let us pray that Jesus will bring about his Resurrection in each of us through the little resurrections in our everyday lives. Let us feel it intensely, live it out faithfully, experience it joyfully, and proclaim it boldly.
Carl Schafer OFM
National Assistant SFO - Oceania