Many minds regard our modern world as hopeless. It is indeed like a vast and horrible Good Friday where everything divine seems gone down to defeat. The future never seemed so completely unpredictable as it does today. Mankind seems to be in a kind of widowhood, in which a harrowing sense of desolation sweeps over it, as one who set out on life’s journey in intimate comradeship with another, and then is suddenly bereft of that companion forever.
There are wars and rumors of wars. Economics is a tangled mess. Communism is robbing men of their souls and a false education is stealing away their faith. Lives have been made flabby with worldliness, and ill-prepared for the rigors of an enforced discipline. Platitudes abound on lips and unrealized desires embitter hearts. Everywhere there is confusion, hopelessness, and despair.
And yet there need not be such hopelessness and despair. The world seemed just as hopeless before, when it crucified its Savior; and yet with all its paganism and nationalism it arose to newness and freshness of Christian life and civilization. The miracle of the Resurrection can happen again.
The World Can Rise Again
The world may rise once more as it rose before, at least a dozen times since the advent of Christianity. But let us suffer no illusions. It will not rise to peace and happiness through economic and political remedies alone; it will rise only through a spiritual regeneration of the hearts and souls of men.
The Resurrection of Our Lord was not the resumption of an old life, it was the beginning of a new life. It was the lesson of Christmas all over again, namely, the world will not be saved by social recovery but by rebirth—rebirth from the dead by the power of Divinity in Christ.
We must not reconstruct our old life; we must rise to new life. There must be a new energy introduced from without, in the absence of which we must rot in our graves. Christ rose from the dead by the Power of God. It is vain for us to try and rise by any other Power. This life and Power the Risen Savior has given to His Mystical Body the Church. His Truth comes to us through His Vicar; His Life comes to us through the Sacraments His Authority comes to us through the Episcopacy. But here is the stumbling block of the world. It may admit that by the Power of God Christ rose from the tomb, but it will not admit that the Power of the Risen Christ continues beyond the tomb. It sees the Church on its human side, made up of weak, frail creatures and, therefore, things it something to be ignored. It makes the same mistake Mary Magdalene made the first Easter morning. She mistook the Risen Savior for the gardener; that is, for but a human thing.
The Solution is Divine
The world too sees the Risen Christ in His Mystical Body the Church, and takes it to be the gardener—something human and not divine. The Divinity is there as it was in the Garden the First Easter and only that same Divinity can give hope to a hopeless world. We may yet attain our peace if we but seek not the political and economic, but the new Life of the Kingdom of God. For such is the message of Easter Day—The Resurrection of the Dead, and the Triumph of the Defeated, the Finding of the Lost; the springtime of the earth, the waking of life, the trumpet of the Resurrection blowing over the land of the living.
But to all souls the Easter message rings out that there is no reason for despair. The Resurrection was announced to Magdalene—a soul once like our own. Peace awaits you in the service of the God Who made you. No matter how hopeless things seem to be, there is still hope, for Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. He who can make snowflakes out of dirty drops of water, diamonds out of charcoal, and saints out of Magdalenes, can also make us victorious if we but confess Him in His earthly and mystical life as Christ the Son of the Living God.
Ottawa Citizen, April 4, 1950
Fulton J. Sheen
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