April 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 77
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CATHOLIC PewPOINT editorial for Tuesday, April 18, 2000

There is no Glory without the Cross!

        Here we are just days from Easter and as the Paschal season approaches we tend to get caught up in the glory of the season - spring flowers in bloom, birds chirping, all the warm cozies God brings to us this time of year...and we overlook the time of the Easter Triduum which makes it possible for the glorious Resurrection. How many are amazed at how at the Easter Vigil and on Easter morning the churches are overflowing with people, but there is still plenty of room in these same churches on Holy Thursday evening and Good Friday afternoon? To truly reach the Resurrection we must all go through the Passion with Jesus.

        Only by doing as He asks can we truly focus on the true GLORY of the Resurrection. However, being the finite beings we are, we must cling to the fact that we are not yet to the Glory, for if we were, we'd be in Heaven, our true home. Holy Week and the Easter Season are the time to pull all the facets and threads of our faith together into one strong and heartfelt "I believe," which transforms us into the true apostles and disciples Our Lord wants us to be. Just as the first Apostles and Christ's disciples were weak in their convictions, so too, we come up short when it comes time for stripping ourselves of our worldly garments and trappings. We shudder and shriek at the nails of penance and obedience, spewing out every excuse we can conjure up to rationalize not having to fully commit ourselves to being nailed with Jesus on that cross. If we're not willing to suffer with Him, then how in God's name, can we logically expect to share in His Glory?

        Today in our rationalistic "enlightened" and liberal-oriented society, we look for ways out; we opt for the easy road and make excuses for our weaknesses, seek to blame others or other factors, instead of striving to take control and turn those vices into virtues.

        The Resurrection is often debated in theological circles, downplayed as historical fact, and made to resemble a "cute fairy tale" by which those of us who possess the faith to believe are "psychologically" bonded to religion as a crutch in life. Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura made that eminently clear and many in the media follow his mantra. The Resurrection, say many modern liberation theologians, didn't really happen, that there's no historical proof! Talk about someone pulling the wool over our eyes! We are His sheep and He said it, we believe it, that settles it! There's no reason on earth whatsoever for Almighty God to have to prove anything more to us than He already has. Remember, we have to answer to God, not He to us! If any one has been in any way swayed by the modern naysayers, then they'll find a new hope and a new love in the sources of Sacred Scripture, the Dogmas and Doctrines of the Church, the lives of the saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of our Holy Father to ignite their faith to once again believe and cling to the reality of the Resurrection.

        Yet there are still some who continue to say "prove it!" Can we "see" this Glory now? Of course not. It's veiled from our eyes. We have to pass through the valley of the of the shadow of death in order to "see" for ourselves that it's true, that God's covenant with man is alive and well, and God keeps His promises! But there is a way we can "see" the Glory with our soul, and this takes faith pure and simple. It takes having a deaf ear to the world and a prayerful heart to tune out and turn off those who prefer to think that they have all the answers, that they're "one with the cosmic universe" and other new-age, modernist gobblygook. We'd be best to turn them all off and turn to the Cross of Christ, and behold our suffering Lord and Savior. Then reflect that He, the Only-begotten Son of God walked the path of mortal suffering, pain and sorrow for all His earthly life, and this path ended up on Calvary where He died an unimaginably cruel death...for all men. He did so that the Father's Justice might be satisfied, and the union between man and God might be restored in its fullness, if we but follow the way taught to us by the Master Teacher.

        For some of us it may be hard at times to focus on these two related aspects in the life of Jesus: The Passion and Death, which led to and found completeness in the Resurrection. When we stop to think about it, could our failure to focus correctly be due, at least in some part, to the fact that in many churches throughout the United States one is hard-pressed to find a true remembrance of the Crucifixion? How many churches have many of us been in lately where, instead of a bonafide Crucifix, we find this large cross dangling from the rafters, and upon it is the Risen Christ. Being the weak human beings that we are, our mortal eyes behold the Resurrection and we skip over the Cross behind the Glorified Christ. As we said earlier, no human likes pain. In the way we are manipulated by the societal media today we strive to bury pain and focus only on pleasure and success - the glory. Because of this our vision is often impaired and it becomes a blur because we have not properly trained the eyes of our souls to see how we arrive at the Glory. We must earn it. As the addage says, "No Pain, No Gain!" Jesus says in Matthew 7: 13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it." This narrow way is the only way to Glory!

        It took a while for His Own Apostles and disciples to realize that so Our Lord understands our tardiness in complying fully. Jesus knew the weaknesses of all those who sought to follow Him. Only through the grace of God and the infusion of the Holy Spirit were they able to gain the courage of their convictions. That is pure love. We would be wise to contemplate Christ's words to Saint Thomas, the doubting Apostle as Saint John recorded them in Chapter 20: 28, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed." Our mortal eyes cannot see Him, but our soul's eyes do...and that is sufficient. It is but a glimpse of the Glory that is to come! Yes, it is good and proper to long for the Glory of the Lord, but we must not 'put the cart before the horse.' First came the Redemptive Act of Calvary in God's Plan of Salvation. The Glory is the Father's privilege to bestow upon all of His children who are faithful to Him. The Glory is reserved for the last, not because it is the least important, but because it culminates a lifetime of struggle, pain, sorrow and suffering in union with Jesus' Passion, and is the ultimate reward of a Father to His Son and His children for running the good race and not faltering.

        That is why Lent and the Easter Triduum must be observed before we can celebrate Easter Sunday. From the opened side of Christ - the new Adam - ripped by the lance while He hung on the cross, is borne the new Eve, His Bride: Holy Mother Church. Jesus empties Himself to enrich her. Water and Blood! Font and Altar ever proclaim the Divine Mercy of Jesus from Whose loving Heart we have life, and have it more abundantly (cf. John 10: 10). To redeem mankind the Father gave up His Own Son on the Cross. For that price we find the empty sepulchre on Easter morning for He has risen and the tomb has given way to the Lamb of God. The Crucified has conquered. From His throne of Glory in Mercy and Love He sends forth His Spirit to abide with us forever. That is the reason for the Alleluias! So before donning those easter bonnets and finest duds for Easter, put on the perseverance of the Easter Triduum so you can truly share in His Glory on Easter. After all there can be no Alleluias without our fiats of obedience, sacrifice and compliance with all He asks for there is no Glory without the Cross!

Michael Cain, editor

For previous editorials this year, go to PAST CATHOLIC PewPOINTS

April 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 77

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