THE DISCALCED HERMITS OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
|Hope that Does Not Disappoint|
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
-Prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
This Sunday, April 24th, we celebrate the Octave day of the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Christ offered Himself as a saving Sacrifice for our salvation. In the Resurrection, God solemnly testifies that this Sacrifice of Calvary (which is renewed and re-presented upon the altar in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) is supremely acceptable to Him and is fully received by Him. By gloriously raising the crucified and immolated Body of Christ from the death He suffered for us fallen children of Adam and Eve, God manifests that He has ratified the mediation of our Great High Priest Who offered the Sacrifice as the ultimate Head of the human race; He has accepted Christ’s infinitely Precious Blood that was poured out in immolation and death as a most precious Oblation of loving adoration and a surpassing expiation for our sins; and He has received those for whom the Sacrifice was offered, namely us and the whole human race. In and through Christ, God has embraced the fallen and broken human race; all who freely subject themselves to Christ and obey Him are made entirely pleasing to God, fully accepted by Him in an eternal embrace of divine mercy and love, assured of ultimate victory over suffering and death. In a certain sense, we are already risen with Christ: spiritually and morally risen in our souls, even if not yet physically risen in our bodies. These are the deep foundations of our hope as Christians. It does not mean that we do not have to labor and suffer in this world but it does give our souls abundant access to the infinite power and mercy of God through our divine Savior Jesus Christ.
Today we are surrounded by much suffering, loss, chaos, and sickness, and we are reminded of our own death, which will eventually meet each one of us. The world asks itself, what are we to do? Where are we to turn for a truly adequate remedy and for the restoration of true peace and a perfection of happiness that has been lost since the fall of our ancient parents? To Him Who alone can truly say “I am the Lord thy Healer” (Exodus 15:26)…to Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen.
But how is the Resurrection of Christ and the divine hope that it inspires affect our life? We must first remember that human suffering and death have their radical root in sin—in the fall of the human race from right order with God…the culture around us today does not understand or admit this fact of reality. Some evils can befall us as a result of our personal sins. However, many sufferings are not the result of one’s personal faults, but ultimately come from the profound disorder introduced into a world that was created by God as good, pleasant, and beautiful—a true Paradise—but is now very deeply wounded by the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and by the negative accumulating effects of countless sins throughout the ages, as souls turn away from God’s perfect order.
Sin, as the obstacle to right order and friendship with God, is therefore the source of suffering. To expiate sin in the souls of fallen creatures is to eradicate the ultimate root of their suffering and to free them from the very source of death. As the Apostles testify, through His self-oblation on the Cross, Christ “is the expiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a redemption for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). “Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). By freely taking our suffering and death upon Himself, our Savior became the source of our healing from sin and the suffering and death that are the sad consequences of sin. He consummated on the Cross the work of our redemption, transforming human suffering and mortality for man’s forgiveness and redemption through the grace and love that were in His Soul in His voluntary self-sacrifice for us. When redeemed from sin, a soul makes the first step towards the eventual recovery of the perfectly ordered state in which there will be no suffering—Heaven, the ultimate object of our hope.
Through the Cross of Christ, we receive the redemption of our souls, restoring right order towards God and our neighbor—even as we await the final healing of our bodies in the Resurrection. Therefore we have a sure source of interior consolation and strength in this sure hope, if we persevere. “Rejoicing in hope, be patient in tribulation” (Romans 12:12).
However, Christ’s redeeming work and victory on the Cross is not only an event of the past: the saving fruits of that true tree of life continue to powerfully operate in hearts for the conversion of those in sin and their restoration to the divine life from which they have fallen. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, we are also called to cooperate with Christ our Head and great High Priest in the mystery of His saving Passion for the conversion and salvation of others.
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