In the Gospel of Luke (24:5-6), the Evangelist writes that upon entering the tomb where Jesus had been laid, the women were greeted with this announcement by two men in dazzling garments:
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
Writing in the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas reflected upon that very question posed to the women and noted that Jesus Christ’s resurrection completes the work of Redemption: “For just as by dying he endured all evil to deliver us from evil, so was he glorified in rising again to advance us toward good things.” (Summa theologiae, 3, 53, 1, c.).
Good things? At Easter, we proclaim that Jesus is Risen! Jesus has triumphed over anguish, darkness, and sorrow! Jesus has overturned the power of death!
But given this, then why the pall in our daily lives? Perhaps it is the 24/7 negative news being pushed at us in HD? Or still yet, maybe it is our own personal condition or that of someone near and dear to us? An uncle who served in Vietnam once told me that…“suffering is like the wind. In stepping into life, we all experience it. The important thing, however, is what we do with it.”
Over the centuries, the saints have had much to say about suffering.
St. Thomas More once reflected:
We may not look at our pleasure to go to heaven in feather beds. It is not the way. For Our Lord himself went there with great pain and many tribulations. The servant may not look to be in better case than the Master.
St. Ignatius of Loyola noted that:
If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint.
And in his Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales declared:
Many people would be glad to have afflictions, so long as they were not inconvenienced by them.
Jesus’ last words were thus: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
At Easter (and every day of our life), may our words be these: “Jesus, I thank you for your Passion, Death, and Resurrection. May my every breath, thought, and action be of you.”
Having joined ourselves to Jesus, may we also be consoled by His words: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (Jn 14:1-3)