Tag: Resurrection

Resurrection Argued

Resurrection Argued posted in Eleison Comments on April 15, 2017

On the eve of Easter Day, let us remind ourselves of how reasonable it is to believe in such an extraordinary occurrence as a human being bursting out of the grave from behind a stone normally heavy enough to stop him from even dreaming of doing any such thing. Firstly, the theological “How” of the Resurrection, and then the historical “Whether” it took place.

For Catholics who by the gift of supernatural faith believe that at the Incarnation the second divine Person of the Holy Trinity, in full possession of the complete divine Nature, united to Himself a complete human nature, making two natures in one divine Person, it is not difficult to understand how the Resurrection took place. On the Cross, the divine Person truly died, not in His immortal divine Nature, but in his human nature, capable of dying like any other mortal man by the separation of his human soul from his human body. However, while these two in Jesus Christ could be separated from one another, neither was separated from the divine Person, which is why Catholics recite in their Creed that He (body and soul) “suffered and died,” and that He (body) “was buried” and that He (soul) “descended into Hell (not the Hell of the damned, but the Limbo of good souls dead and waiting for Christ’s redeeming death to open for them the gates of Heaven closed by Adam and Eve). Both human body and human soul of Christ remaining each of them united to the divine Person, it may not have been easy for that Person to die the atrocious death on the Cross, but it was easy for His human soul to reunite with His human body in the sepulchre so that His human nature came back to life. And no stone on earth could have been heavy enough to stop Him from flying immediately to His Mother to console her.

But must a soul then have the supernatural gift of the faith to accept the reality of the Resurrection? Not necessarily. If an unbelieving but upright mind will consider the merely natural arguments taken from natural psychology and human history, he can easily conclude that only some event at least as sensational as the Resurrection can explain the facts as we know them (and let nobody say that the Resurrection is so thweet and thticky and nithe that nobody needth argumentth! Men need arguments! God did not put our heads on the top for nothing!).

Firstly, human psychology arguing from the Apostles. For three years they have learned to believe, trust in and love the divine Master. Then he is executed in public like a common criminal, after they all ran away in the Garden of Gethsemane. And after the Passion they are totally disheartened (cf. Jn. XX, 19). absolutely normal in the circumstances. Yet within 50 days here they are back in Jerusalem, confronting the Jews head on and converting them to believe in Jesus Christ, thousands at a time (cf. Acts II, 41; IV, 4). And within another 300 years these Apostles and their successors will have converted the Roman Empire itself. Such are the facts of history. What can have happened, less than something as sensational as the Resurrection, to explain such a psychological transformation of whipped dogs (so to speak) into world-conquerors?

Secondly, human history, arguing from the Jews. They hated Christ, and killed Him, as they have striven to destroy His Church ever since. Yet within 50 days here are his followers, commanding them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, using the Resurrection as their main argument. Would not the best way to stop them in their tracks have been to produce Christ’s dead corpse? And can we doubt that, then as now, they had all money, police and power at their disposal to find any corpse at all, if only it was still there to be found? But Christianity, instead of being stopped, took off. The only explanation can be that there was no corpse to be found. The Resurrection is true. One need not even have supernatural faith to accept it. So Peter was right – Acts II, 38 – “Do penance, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Kyrie eleison.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday posted in Eleison Comments on March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday in the life of Our Lord was that day between his appalling death on the Cross and his glorious Resurrection, when his human body, lifeless without its human soul, lay in the dark tomb, unseen to human eye. Our Lord’s enemies seemed so successfully to have crushed him that the Incarnate God was in complete eclipse, and only the faith of Our Lady in her Divine Son remained unshaken. All his other followers she had to sustain, because even the most devout of them felt bewildered and lost.

Now as being the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church follows the life’s course of his physical body. Down all its 2,000 years of history the Church has always been persecuted by the enemies of Christ, and in many parts of the world at various times it has been virtually wiped out. Yet surely it has never been going into complete eclipse like it seems to be doing today. God designed his Church as a monarchy, to be held together by the Pope, and we have just seen a Pope resigning, no doubt in part because he himself, mesmerized by modern democratic thinking, never fully believed in his own supreme office. Taking the papal tiara off his coat of arms, and signing himself always as “Bishop of Rome,” whatever were his intentions when he resigned in February, he surely helped, humanly speaking, to undermine the divine institution of the Papacy.

Certainly by Benedict XVI’s resignation and by the succeeding conclave the enemies of Christ will have been doing all they could for their part to undo the Papacy. By a just punishment of God for the universal apostasy of our age, they have received from him a great power over his Church. They have been working for centuries to get a stranglehold over the Vatican, and they are now entrenched there. With no intention of giving way to a pious little Society, they are, as Anne Catherine Emmerich saw in a vision 200 years ago, dismantling the Church stone by stone. Humanly speaking, today’s followers of Our Lord have as little seeming hope as they had on the original Holy Saturday.

But no more than Our Lord himself is the Catholic Church a merely human affair. In 1846 Our Lady of Salette said about our own times: “The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, penance and their tears will rise up to Heaven, and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ in an act of his justice and great mercy will command his Angels to have all his enemies put to death. Suddenly the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish, and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God, Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere . . . The Gospel will be preached everywhere . . . and man will live in fear of God.”

In other words, God will most certainly resurrect his Church from its present distress. When the eclipse becomes still darker, as it is sure to do, let us merely hold more closely than ever to the Mother of God, and let us resolve now not to weigh upon her then by our disbelief, as did Our Lord’s Apostles and disciples on the first Holy Saturday. Let us undertake to rejoice her Immaculate Heart with our unshakeable faith in her Divine Son and his one true Church.

Kyrie eleison.

Faith Victorious

Faith Victorious posted in Eleison Comments on August 6, 2011

By way of answer to Bishop Tissier de Mallerais’ persuasive criticism of Pope Benedict’s thinking, laid out briefly in the last four numbers of these “Comments,” what then shall we say (Rom.VI, 1)? Let us look at three arguments by which good Catholics might seek to defend the Pope from the accusation that his thinking is not Catholic.

A first line of defence might claim in general that to attack in any way the Pope is to help the enemies of the Church. But is not the primary duty of the Pope to “confirm his brethren in the Faith” (Lk.XXII, 32)? If then a Pope’s thinking seriously strays from the Faith, to point out to him, with all due respect, where he is going astray, is not to attack him, or to do the work of the enemies of the Church. It is to help him to see clear to do his duty, and to remind him of the one and only means he has of conquering those enemies, who are today more powerful than ever – “This is the victory which overcometh the world – our Faith” (I Jn.V, 4).

A second objection to Bishop Tissier’s argument, particular to our own time, might be that Pope Benedict is a prisoner in the Vatican, so he is not free to defend Catholic Tradition as he would really wish to do. Now it is true that the post-Conciliar Popes have been surrounded by high-up Church officials who are Freemasons secretly bent upon destroying the Church. It is also possible that since Vatican II the money-men have had more and more of a financial slip-knot around the Vatican’s neck. But enough dollars would follow the true doctrine, if only it were proclaimed, and if Benedict’s faith were not imprisoned by Hegelian errors, it would easily have the victory over the Freemasons all around him. Victory by martyrdom? It might take a series of martyr Popes, but if only we deserved them, as in the early Church, the Vatican would soon again be free!

A third more direct objection was alluded to in the last “EC”: Benedict XVI might claim that he believes not only in Faith and Reason correcting one another, but also in the Traditional Faith. Thus, he might say, he himself absolutely believes that Jesus’ own crucified body rose alive with his human soul from the tomb on Easter morning, so if he also tells modern man that the real meaning of the Resurrection is not a material body coming out of a material tomb, but spiritual love conquering death, that is merely to make the Resurrection accessible to disbelieving modern man.

But, Holy Father, did or did not that crucified body rise alive from that material tomb? If it did not, stop believing that it did, stop even pretending to believe that it did, and resign from being the Pope of delusional Catholics. But if it did rise from the tomb, then THAT is what you must proclaim to poor modern man, and you must – pardon my language – cast his disbelief in his teeth. Modern man does not need to be told about luv, luv, luv. He hears it all day long! He does need to hear the rational argument, not pre-supposing faith, that only Our Lord truly risen could have both stopped his implacable enemies in their tracks and turned his totally dispirited Apostles into world-conquerors.

Holy Father, it is useless trying to get through to the world on its own rotten terms. Conquer it on Our Lord’s terms! And if you are obliged to give to us an example of martyrdom, do believe that that is the example that many of us may need in the not too distant future. We humbly pray for you.

Kyrie eleison.