This is the second article on the theme, “He Has Risen, Alleluia! We Have Risen With Him, Alleluia!” Isn’t this what this grace-filled Easter Season is all about? For this second article, I am using the opening words of the book, The Binding of The Strong Man, The Teachings of St. Leo the Great by Anne Field, O.S.B. St. Leo the Great was elected pope in 440 A.D. He is one of the greatest of the Latin Fathers of the Church and his writings are inspiring and powerful. I recommend that you carefully read and reflect on St. Leo’s words below and allow the Holy Spirit to deepen your understanding of one of the greatest truths of our faith: “He Has Risen, Alleluia! We Have Risen With Him, Alleluia!”
We have passed from death to life
“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.” (Romans6:4-6)
“In this tremendous sixth chapter of his letter to the Romans, St. Paul asserts that our dying and rising with Christ is an accomplished fact. It is not something we have to achieve by our own efforts; its comes to us as pure gift, a gift to be accepted by faith in all that the Lord has done for us. When we were baptized and put our faith in the Lord Jesus, we left our old self-centered existence behind and entered upon a new life. Our task now is not to earn this new life but to live it, to enter into the riches of Christ’s redemptive work and to allow the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection to enter into our daily lives; for when the Lord Jesus took his seat at the right hand of the Father, he poured out his Spirit on his Church, the Spirit whose mission is to make available to all believers the salvation Christ has won for us.
The power of the redemption is available to us here and now.
“Each year the Church unfolds the whole mystery of Christ from his incarnation and birth to his ascension and the day of Pentecost. In this way his redemptive work is made present to us here and now; by our faith we can lay hold of its power and be filled with Christ’s own life. The things that Jesus did and taught for the world’s reconciliation are not simply a matter of past history. They are fully operative now in those who believe in him. The events of his early life contain a divine power, and that power has been communicated to the Church which is his body, so that when the whole body together commemorates those events in the yearly cycle of the liturgy they are made present in a special way, and the power which is, as it were, encapsulated in them is released and communicated to all his members.
“It is true that Jesus, the Son of God, was born at a particular moment in history. He grew up at Nazareth, matured to manhood, then suffered and died; with his resurrection from the dead the labors he had undertaken for us in the humble conditions of a human being were completed. Yet because all the mysteries of his life are made timelessly present to us in the liturgy, the entire body of believers is crucified with Christ on Good Friday, raised up with him at Easter, and set at the Father’s right hand with him at the Ascension. Although we are called one by one to become members of the Lord’s body and may be separated from each other by time and space, once we are born anew in baptism we share Christ’s life all together, and the whole body together shares in his passover.
“Renouncing the devil, professing faith in God, passing from the old life to the new, casting off the image of the earthly man and putting on the heavenly – all this is a dying and rising again. Christians are not the same after baptism as they were before; the bodies of the baptized have become the body of the crucified Christ. It is Christ who lives and acts in them. As they have died with him and have been buried and raised to life with him, so they bear him within them, both in body and spirit, in everything they do.”
All praise to you, Lord Jesus. Through the power of your Cross and resurrection, you have set me free from sin and death and raised me up to share in your risen life. Help me to reject everything that keeps me from living this truth.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Spend a few minutes reflecting on Romans 6:4-6. What do you believe the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you through this Scripture?
- St. Leo says that in Romans 6:4-6, “St. Paul asserts that our dying and rising with Christ is an accomplished fact.” In what way have you experienced this truth in your life? In what ways have you not experienced this truth?
- St. Leo goes on to say that: “The events of his early life contain a divine power, and that power has been communicated to the Church which is his body, so that when the whole body together commemorates those events in the yearly cycle of the liturgy they are made present in a special way, and the power which is, as it were, encapsulated in them is released and communicated to all his members.” As you continue to celebrate the liturgy during the remainder of this Easter Season, what steps can you take to open yourself more to receive this “divine power” in a deeper way and make what you celebrate more present in your life?
- Reflect on these words of St. Leo: ”Renouncing the devil, professing faith in God, passing from the old life to the new, casting off the image of the earthly man and putting on the heavenly – all this is a dying and rising again.” Why do you think St. Leo refers to these actions as a “dying and rising again”? What steps can you take to make this dying to the old life and living the new life in Christ a greater reality?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to live out the words of St. Paul in Romans 6:4-6. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.