“In contemplation God teaches the soul very quietly and secretly, without its knowing how, without the sound of words” (Chapter 39, The Spiritual Canticle).
In the spirit of St. John of the Cross, this blog reflects on the contemplative experience and the poetic experience, sometimes separately and distinctly, sometimes in common, as mutually enlightening.
I will also post to this blog, from time to time, my own poetry, with a short interpretive note attached.
~ Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
Refelctions on Holy Week – Part 4 of 4
Sat, May 25 2019
|Image by Joseph Redfield Nino from Pixabay|
And so Jesus, raised from the dead, is present here among us bodily—working, acting, giving of himself, handing himself over for the sake of his cause, uniting himself in communion with us for the sake of coming of the Father’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” But, having been raised from the dead, he is here, yes, in this way—he is here among us bodily—but he is here bodily from the other side of death. That’s the fundamental affirmation. Then, to explain what we mean by the other side of death, we can use whatever resurrection story we wish, although some are more canonical than others.
He’s here among us from the other side of that question which death puts to us in our bodily existence—namely, will I collapse at death into utter physical isolation and abandonment, or will I pass through and beyond death into a new communion with others and with God?
Or he’s here among us from the other side of a surrender to death—indeed, to a shameful, torturous death—which is really a surrender to others, namely, to the Father and his kingdom, present and coming.
He’s here, we might say, in the power of the Father’s divine Yes to this surrender. For Jesus of Nazareth, therefore, that which he lived and died for, the Father’s kingdom, has already come “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Jesus is here for any who would likewise join themselves to this bodily presence of his enduring life’s work, cause, and person. And he is here for any who would unite themselves in communion with others for the sake of his presence among us. He is here for us, for all of us together, from the other side of death—which is to say, in the power of the Father’s divine Yes.
Jesus becomes, therefore, our own personal yes, only as given, received, and returned, all from the other side of death—“from beyond the veil.” Thus, throughout our lives we can withstand any and every confrontation we might have with the potentially devastating question of death—For whom/what have I lived, with a faith, hope, and love that transcends my isolated, autonomous, atomistic life and connects me with what endures, with what is true and good, human and divine?
Inasmuch as I sincerely try to live for Jesus and for what he lived for, living on this side of death, I can hear and know him present to me bodily from the other side of death. That’s what happened to body of Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth, once present among us, who lived for his cause, the Father’s kingdom, and died for it, has now become Lord of it, the very embodiment of it. Such is the power of resurrection, of the Father’s divine Yes both to Jesus and to us in our communion together with him.
Written by Fr. Bonaventure, OCD