Today’s reflection is from Fr. Dennis Gallagher A.A.,
Provincial Superior of the Assumptionists in North America
What does it mean to live from the power of the resurrection? What does this look like? I’m reminded of one of Emeritus Pope Benedict’s most quoted statements: “being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” It’s the second half of this statement that helps us understand what living from the resurrection really means – to encounter an event, a person a new horizon, a decisive direction for our lives.
Pope Benedict intended to say something similar when he insisted that we become Christian by virtue of a sacrament. This adds a further dimension to the picture. It’s always God who takes the initiative, and on this Easter day our deepest joy comes from knowing that what we could not possibly have brought about by our own efforts, has been accomplished for us. The One who is the Life of all Life comes running out to meet us. The sacrament also means that we are borne up and carried by a community of faith. (A rather silly thought: think of singing an Alleluia to yourself in your room. You can do it, but it’s definitely missing something).
But it’s the newness of this which may give us pause. Is it not the case that we live our lives as though there were nothing new under the sun? It is this kind of resignation that, I want to say, stands no chance on this Easter day, as long as we are in synch with the mystery we celebrate. For with the resurrection everything is as new and as fresh as it was at the dawn of creation. We see this in the liturgy of the Easter Vigil: the light that pierced the darkness of the night; our exultant song of praise; the Word that announces our redemption and God’s fidelity to his promises; our baptismal vows made new again; the appearance of the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread – all of these actions, however oft-repeated, live in the eternal present of God’s merciful love.
Benedict liked to say that we are Christians by becoming Christians over and over again. That speaks not so much to our not quite getting it right, as it does to the spring of water that never runs dry and that brings to life and freshness all that it touches. On this Easter day, God desires to renew his promises in our very flesh in order that our lives may be given a new horizon and a decisive direction, one that is patterned after Jesus’ self-giving love.