By David Franks, Chairman of MCFL
Easter does not mean forgetting the dead. Indeed, Easter would be nullified if we did so.
Jesus rises, not by erasing the history of suffering, but by nbsorbing all of it. He does not magically wave it away. He endures it in His own Person, and thus recapitulates it within the eternity of divine love. His love goes to the end—and only thus does He get through.
Pro-lifers know this, deep in the bone. You know this, all of you who have lost someone. We will not take a holiday from remembering. We know that any joy that is true must be gained in the teeth of wounding memory. The alternative is to find some drug, some anesethic, to repress the past.
We are not obstinate and morbid to guard the memory of suffering. We gladly, gladly rejoice. But we do it honestly, not in bourgeois indifference.
Joy knows how to dance without dishonoring the dead. To live time well means progressing without ungratefully, heedlessly walking on the graves of those whose suffering and passing somehow sustain our own passage through history. Remembering the dead means, first of all, that we will not appease today’s destroyers. We will do everything reasonable to impede and overcome the violence laid upon the victims.
True joy means holding the victims in our hearts and knowing that they will be vindicated. If we did not sing at Easter, how could we continue the long twilight struggle?
Easter is when eternity begins to subdue the chaos of time, the death and violence that seem to be its very metronome.
In one of the greatest novels, Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin sings of providence, and of how, somehow, in the whole, everything is itself whole. I draw such joy and hope from these words, which describe history as held by God the Father’s loving goodness:
“The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is. Everything that ever will be, is. In all possible combinations. Though we imagine that it is in motion and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. So any event is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible.”
Something Saint John Paul writes in The Gospel of Life comes to mind:
“Revelation progressively allows the first notion of immortal life planted by the Creator in the human heart to be grasped with ever greater clarity: ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time; also He has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ec 3:11). This first notion of totality and fullness is waiting to be manifested in love and brought to perfection, by God’s free gift, through sharing in His eternal life.”
Unconquerable life, invincible because become all love: Easter is a fire and it comes on. We rejoice in its progress.
Photo: Fra Angelico (circa 1395–1455) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.