“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.” John 12:23-27
As we walk towards this Passion of the Church we must remember Resurrection is on the other side. My friend Ashley Blackburn wrote this piece before the Scandal broke. She wrote it as a reflection of her own life. But I think her reflections are prophetic in that we know the Gates of Hell won’t prevail over the church, and it actually provides a road map of how to navigate this crisis. Resurrection does await the church, because we the Body of Christ, can live and walk confidently in Christ’s Resurrection.
The Other side of Resurrection
BY: ASHLEY BLACKBURN
I have often meditated on the triumph of Jesus over sin and death in the resurrection. Contemplating the actual event – the miracle – the power of God – the transformation – the saving graces which became available to all through this most monumental moment in history. But how often do we think of what happened afterwards? What was life like for the Apostles on the other side of the resurrection? What is life like for us living on the other side of the resurrection?
Through Christ’s resurrection we have been saved. We have been given the gift of new life. To walk as sons and daughters of the loving Father. To live a life of freedom and hope. Through Christ’s resurrection we are given sanctifying grace, which is offered to all, but only fully accepted and received by few. When we receive the graces of Christ’s resurrection we are freed from the lies of the Accuser and we are able to walk confidently alongside the risen Christ, our Savior and friend. We are then better able to listen to Christ, to learn from Him, to bring all of our cares and concerns to Him, to lay our very lives at the foot of the cross so that we may be crucified with Him and thus also share in the newness of life with Him through the resurrection. Our share in the resurrection is experienced in and through us to our very core. Our souls are forever marked with the Precious Blood of Christ’s sacrifice and the Waters of mercy which burst forth from His pierced side. We go forth unafraid. We are able to trust fully in the Father’s plan, His Divine Will, His Kingdom come, His Will be done, both in our own lives and in the world.
On the other side of the resurrection, we experience Divine Charity in which we have all been invited to share. We find this gift to be more precious than anything else and we sell all that we have to keep it – treasuring it in our hearts. We move forward, strengthened and renewed, living a life of loving obedience to the Father’s Will. We find ourselves asking the Father what HE wishes for our lives and then we respectfully and lovingly follow The Way. Our obedience to the Father is not done out of terrifying fear or meaningless duty, but out of Divine love, in which we have been invited to share. This obedience will become a threat to others for it will tend to point out their own disobedience. It will stir up contention and lead to various forms of persecution. But the abundant flowering of the fruits of our obedience lead us onward.
Just as the Apostles moved forth unafraid having experienced the resurrected Christ, having been filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, we too must move forth in courage and fortitude. On the other side of the resurrection there will no doubt be trials, there will be temptations, there will be persecutions and even martyrdoms. There will be people who try to chain us back up and throw us in prison. There will be those who mock us and utter untrue words about our intentions and our heart. Jesus warns us that these persecutions may even come from some of our closest family members or friends. But amidst all of this Christ sent us His Spirit and the Spirit is our strength and our hope in the darkness. For it is only through Christ living within us that we are able to overcome any obstacle. St. Paul tells us that “it is no longer I that lives, but Christ that lives in me”.
On the other side of the resurrection we live out of the abundance of Divine Charity that has been given to us through Christ. We love despite being attacked by our neighbor because we draw from the source of all love – God. We hold close to the memory of our own experience of the resurrected Christ, our precious pearl. We march on, having been tried and tested, persecuted and insulted, hurt and belittled, and we “shake the dust from our feet”. We step out once again, clothed in Christ, with an army of Angels and Saints behind us, cheering us on and giving us the hope we need to live again!