By Derick Cranston
There is a tension which exists between the sin of Adam and the glory of the resurrection. This tension forms our Christian lives and defines us.
We are a people caught between hope and sin, called to the light but stuck in the darkness. Not only are we called to love our neighbors as our self, but also to love our enemies as our self. We find it difficult enough to love our neighbors, and the command to love our enemies seems an impossible goal. Yet we aspire to this principle and each generation takes up the task of living out Christ’s message of love.
We are products of an evolution that has become conscious of itself, spirits frozen in matter. The Word of God became flesh and brought the light of the Holy Spirit to melt our material hearts and draw us to the divine. This is a slow thaw that begins with love and ends with the emergence of spiritual existence. We are the only creatures with the capacity to love, but we are also the only creatures with the ability to systematically kill each other and poison the natural beauty of the earth. There lies the dichotomy of the human situation. We are souls called to a transcendental union with the blessed Trinity, but are still evolving and transforming the physical matter of which we are created.
It is love that will elevate us to a higher plane of existence. It is the “greatest commandment” and summarizes the whole Law of the Torah which is “to love God with all your heart and soul, and to love your neighbor with all your heart and soul.” Christ was the living embodiment of this love, and it is the enduring message he bestowed upon us in the Gospels. Our broken human condition all too often leads us away from love and makes it seem an impossible ideal. But Jesus — who was fully human — lived out this example of ultimate love through his passion and brutal crucifixion upon the cross. Christ exemplified for us the full potential of human achievement.
The love that Christ demonstrated released an energy that will transform the universe. This is captured beautifully in a quote by the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “The day will come when we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, the human being will have discovered fire.”
Humanity is awakening to eternity and has reached the apex of its physical evolution. We are now on the cusp of spiritual evolution and on the verge of emerging from the womb of our material existence. The seed of the Word of God has fallen onto the fertile soil of our hearts. The Logos has yielded 30, 60, a hundredfold; bread of the finest wheat to nourish our infant existence in the divine.
(Derick Cranston is youth minister for St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman.)