Monday, 1 April 2013

The Easter Person

Pope John Paul the Great referred to Christians as "the Easter people", but why is that? Why are we Easter people, not Christmas people, for example?

To say that Christians are Easter people because the faith stems from the Resurrection is true, but it needs more explanation. Sure, Christmas and Easter are both the greatest of Christian holidays, but Easter is really bigger (though the popular media doesn't seem to like Easter very much so the emphasis is always on Christmas (besides, Easter is a little too Christian for the mainstream taste (but let's just draw some bunnies and striped eggs to make a cute Easter card))). In fact, Easter is, I daresay, the ultimate Christian holiday. While Christmas is important because it marks the coming of Heaven into Earth, the infinite into the finite, it is in Easter that the relationship of Heaven and Earth is healed, where the finite and the mundane are elevated to the worth of the infinite and the eternal. Christmas is getting acquainted with that new good-looking person; Easter is the holy matrimony.

So how do we live as Easter people? What is the Easter person like? What does it mean to be an Easter person?

The Easter person does not look different from the rest of the worldly world. He is different; the distinguishing features are embraced and integrated within him. He doesn't wear them like clothes, they build him like the cells and tissues in his body.

The Easter person is:

  1. Full of hope. Hope is the prevailing theme of the Paschal mystery. It is a hope that suffering shall end in victory, contrition in forgiveness, faithfulness in salvation, and holy death in eternal life. The Easter person's hope is not merely a wishful thinking, but one that is rooted in and nourished by a deep conviction of the Truth. This hope is unfaltering; it is actually made stronger in the face of adversaries. It is otherworldly and has its own logic. It does not demand the fulfillment of its desires; it feeds only on God's plans and promises, thus it is never in vain. This hope is very much alive and aflame in the Easter person, and in turn makes him...
  2. Full of joy. The Easter person might not be happy and cheerful all the time, but he is joyful all the time. True joy may manifest in outward expressions such as happiness or excitement, but does not require them for existence. Joy is the realization of the hope within. It cherishes in what is True, Good, and Beautiful. It persists believing in the divine providence, in the works of God's hands in every affair. And with joy and hope, the Easter person has all the necessary equipments to be...
  3. Courageous. The Easter person dares the adventures in life. He knows that his God is mighty. He has witnessed God's power; he has seen, with the eyes of faith, what his God can do. His courage is not one that is foolish, but one that is wise: it is calculating, thoughtful, but willing to make the leap when necessary. The Easter person dares the cross, the self-denial, the humiliation, the demand to perfection, not because he is born strong, but because of grace. This kind of courage makes the Easter person...
  4. Free. The secret to the Easter person's freedom lies not in anarchistic behaviours, but---surprise, surprise!---in obedience to God's law. If you are courageous enough to let go of yourselves and obey Him, you will be free from things that are harmful and unessential to the life of your soul; most importantly, you will be free from the slavery of sin. Such is the paradox of Christianity (like you don't know?). And when you are free from the concerns of worldly things, then you are obviously...
  5. Not of this world. The Easter person ultimately looks forward to be resurrected with Christ. The Easter person belongs to God; his home is Heaven. In this world he lives wholeheartedly because he is obedient to the works assigned to him. But he is a foreigner, a sojourner who cannot wait to go home, and is willing to do anything that can get him there.

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