Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fought Out On a Spring Morning

This post Resurrection and Hope at Quiddity reminded me of the chapter of Creed in Slow Motion that I just read to Kieron last week. A couple of excerpts:

The species goes on, but what about the individual? Does Death triumph here, too? Does immortality belong only to the race, or can the individual human being look forward, somehow, to immortality?

That issue, too, was fought out on a spring morning. There's a fascinating verse of St. Matthew, just after his description of how St. Joseph of Arimathea took our Lord's body and buried it. "But there were two who sat on opposite the tomb, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary with her." They cannot drag themselves away, spectators of the great world conflict between life and death, which has now reached its final round. If nothing happens on Easter Morning, then it is all over; there is no hope left for human hearts. Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando, says the Easter sequence; "Life and Death met in wondrous combat". And the darkness fell, and the sabbath dawned; and you were not allowed to go out and look at the tomb on the sabbath. But as soon as the grey twilight of Sunday morning came, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary were there, with their spices. And they looked, to find the stone rolled away, and the soldiers asleep, and the tomb empty.

and this following part reminded Brendan and Clare and me of some of the things Chesterton said; not surprising, since Ronald Knox was led to the Catholic Church by Chesterton and gave his requiem mass:

But at the root of it all. you see, baptism has made a permanent difference: we are no longer what we were. The devil had a natural claim over us, so to speak, until the day when we were christened; now he hasn't, now it is Christ who has the natural claim over us. Life has triumphed over death in our souls. Grace has been implanted in us, a principle of supernatural life, a seed that sprang from our Lord's tomb. That garden of the Resurrection was the nursery garden of the whole Church. And that's why we must never allow ourselves to grow despondent over our sins, even when we find ourselves falling into them again and again; there's something in us stronger than sin, Divine grace, which is always thrusting up like a plant rooted in our souls, always claiming us for itself. There is no autumn in your soul; as long as you believe in Jesus Christ and in what his Resurrection has done for you, it is always spring.

And just as Christ, by rising again, has planted this irresistible principle of victory in your soul and mine, so by his rising again he has planted an irresistible principle of victory in his Church. Again and again, when you read the history of the Church, you will come across periods when it looks as if the whole thing was no use, and there was nothing for her but to chuck up the sponge; the world keeps on persecuting her, and it seems bound to get her down. You see it in the Dark Ages, when the barbarians invaded Europe; you see it at the time of the Reformation, when half of Europe was torn away from her influence; you see it at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when it looked for a moment as if religion had ceased to count. You will live your life, maybe, in equally troubled times, when it will look as if everything we Catholics care for were going under. But the Church is the Church of the Risen Christ, and till the end of time every death she undergoes will be the prelude to a resurrection.

1 comment:

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Insightful and enjoyable, as always Willa, thank you and a blessed Holy Week and Easter to you and your family.