A Healing Judgment; A Resurrected Hope
By Phillip Baker
“Come let us return to the Lord, for it is He who has rent, but He will heal us… He will revive us after two days; on the third day, He will raise us up, to live in His presence” (Hosea 6:1-2).
God became man so “that [we] might have life and have it more abundantly, ” yet, when greeted with His love, we responded by crucifying and killing Him (Jn 10:10). For this, what do we deserve but condemnation? This condemnation was indeed poured out, but God’s wrath did not fall on us. Instead, like Moses who prefigured Him, Jesus stepped into the breach and took the wrath of God – the just punishment for our sins – upon Himself for the sake of all mankind. Instead of condemnation, then, we receive salvation and healing (“healing” being intuited in the Latin “salvation”). The salutary effect of the Cross is forgiveness of our sins, a healing greater than any bodily healing. For what good is bodily health if the soul is sick (cf. Matt 5:29)?
But why should this healing come to us? When I try to find the link that takes us from condemnation to healing, the only link that I can make is that of God’s superabundant Mercy: “by His stripes, we [are] healed” (Is 53:5). The sign of this is the Resurrection, for, as “the wages of sin is death,” so Jesus, by swallowing up sin in His divinity, has overcome death (Rom 6:23). Therefore we now have hope of life everlasting because God’s Mercy reigns supreme, and, as our baptism is an incorporation into Christ’s Body, we might share then in the fruits of His Resurrection. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, wherein we hear of the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Jn 20:19-22). It is this salvific healing that Christ gives to us from the Cross through Reconciliation so that the healing effects of His Redemption – confirmed in His Resurrection – can be continually applied to us. Because of Christ, Who has given us life and healing on Easter morning, we can proclaim “I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the Lord” (Ps. 118: 17).
One of the most astounding things to me about God’s Providence is the way in which God takes that which is evil and turns it to great good: even death, the effect of sin, is put to use as part of the plan of salvation as it becomes a door unto life everlasting. When we look at the Cross, we quite clearly see that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and we cannot pretend that we can fix our problems on our own. Yet we see in the light of Easter that we don’t have to: our hope is in the abundant Mercy of God that brings good out of evil; that takes our sins upon Himself to bring us healing; that offers us life with Him – for “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
Glorified Through Suffering; Becoming Heirs with Christ
By Gretchen Erlichman
“Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with with you.’ When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side – The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” -John 20:19-20
Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection coalesce in the greatest act of mercy and love, in which His infinite glory was made manifest and He gained our salvation. Yet, even in the radiance of His Resurrection, Christ bears the wounds of His suffering, through which He reached His greatest moment of glory. Likewise, it is through suffering that we are most conformed to Christ and are invited to share in His glory. After His Resurrection, Our Lord appeared to the apostles and “showed them His hands and His side;” this was an invitation to the whole Church to enter into the love of His glorified wounds and to enter into His Divine Life – to become heirs to the eternal life He has prepared for us in His Kingdom.
Indeed, it is through suffering that we are united in love to Christ, and it is through suffering that we are given an intimate sharing in His Divine Life. Jesus tells us that “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Matt. 16:25) It was in Christ’s act of selfless love that He died on the Cross to give us new life; it is in our dying to the evils of sin and selfishness by which we come to share in this new life, which is the glory of His Resurrection.
One cannot die without suffering. So too, one cannot rise without dying. Yet, when united to Christ, even our suffering and death is not something to be lamented, but becomes an occasion for rejoicing. Our suffering, no matter how big or small, becomes an act of love united to Him Who is Love. St. Paul tells us that it is in this suffering that we inherit our reward. We become “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Rom. 8:17-18)
Therefore, in these hard times, let us joyfully enter into Christ’s passion. Let us lovingly unite our every hardship and suffering to His suffering on the Cross for the salvation of souls. Let us die to ourselves so that we may rise to new life in Him. Let us accept His invitation to enter into the love of His glorified wounds as to become heirs to the Heavenly Kingdom. Let us unite ourselves wholly and entirely to Him so that we may join in the glory of His Resurrection and become sharers in His Divine Life. Alleluia!
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact