Making a Difference in Us

In Christianity on April 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Easter morning!  A time of joy and celebration.  A morning of resurrection; transformation, from death to life—and the promise that we, too, shall rise.  The Risen Savior of that first Easter morning should make a difference in our lives.  The richness of life in Christ shows itself, as the reality of our conversion produces holiness.  

One clear manifestation of His life within is a sense of transcendence and reverential awe.  We become aware that we have been made part of something—Someone—much bigger than any of us.  Every Christian is part of the Body of Christ.  That is accompanied by immense privileges, privileges in worship and service that should humble us and bring us to our knees in joy and awe. “Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our maker” (Psalm 95:6).

Along with immense privileges, come responsibilities and even restraints: in a word, obedience.  I am no longer the final word.  It is not for me to choose what teachings of the Church I follow or don’t follow.  When an adult convert is received into the Church, he or she is asked to affirm that they believe all the Catholic Church holds and teaches.  In the renewal of baptismal promises at Easter. the members of Christ’s Body are reminded that we are renewing “promises made in baptism, when we rejected Satan and his works, and promised to serve God faithfully in his holy Catholic Church.”

What else will we see in Christ’s transformation of our lives?  By God’s grace, we should see increased purpose and persistence in prayer.  Here, the Church offers so many helps that are unavailable (or perhaps we should say “un-availed upon”) by separated brothers and sisters.  

Many outside the Church imagine that only Catholic Christians read their prayers.  In fact, the Puritans and many in the Puritan tradition frequently employed, not extemporaneous, but written prayers.  As Arthur Bennett notes in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions:  Many Puritans “wrote down a record of God’s intimate dealings with their souls . . . to test their spiritual growth, and to encourage themselves by their re-perusal in times of low spiritual fervor.  Others . . . turned their personal devotions into corporate forms for family worship, and published them to the church at large.”  

Catholic Christians enjoy the riches of 2,000 years of concentrated prayer.  Today, the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, and numerous well-established devotions allow us to pray with the saints; with the Church; with our brothers and sisters all over the world.

Finally, the resurrection of Our Savior will manifest itself in our lives through victory over sin.  Are you struggling against a persistent evil in your life—a besetting sin?  Saint Paul writes of your struggle (and mine):  “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no long I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:20).  What is the answer?  “Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ . . . I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25, 8:38-39).

The Risen Christ, the Savior of Easter morning, lives to help.  Trust Him—and obey!  Perhaps that sounds too simple.  Yet, He died to redeem us; to give us victory over sin.  Look to the Risen Lord!  Yes, He is Lord.  Yes, obedience is our responsibility and privilege.  But this is not servile obedience.  His banner over us is love (Song of Songs 2:4)!

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