CS Lewis : “At the very worst the issue is made clear the fog of religion and convention wisdom is lifted and the position and number of both armies can be observed and real shooting is made possible."
O happy confession! I went just this morning. Life begins again with renewed hope for the coming days, maybe, many years, or, perhaps, only moments. I just need to go forward, open to life and, most of all, charity, giving it, as best I can with apologies to match my failures.
A powerful instinct, certainly not reserved for me alone, tells me that the grave in not the end. If it were, what a mockery the sacrifices of caring and struggle, war, family, and country, if it were, I can see why the practical atheist and agnostic would advocate for the convenience of death in the womb, the rallying cry of the pragmatic “progressive” society, planning to bring forth only as much life as it can use. If no resurrection of the dead, why the fuss to perfume our living corpses. Blessed be the grave; bring it on, O happy holocaust!
My sad suppositions terrify me. Give me that candle to carry into the darkness and the holy regard of those praying for the dead. I am not alone in desiring eternity, and the company of the living forever. It is the sun that comes up every morning and the hope that can only be fulfilled in One who is more than matter, and yet, matter does testify by it very existence, in its coming to be, and, so my hope is that He that brought it forth, love me into the infinity of His Being.
1. THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.
3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!