The late +Fr. Bernie Hayes, CR wrote a booklet reflecting on the words of our Resurrection Prayer. During this Easter Season of the Lord’s Resurrection we wanted to share some excerpts from those reflections with you.
O Risen Lord,
the way, the truth and the life,
make us faithful followers
of the spirit of your Resurrection.
Grant that we may be inwardly renewed:
dying to ourselves
in order that you may live in us.
May our lives serve
as signs of the transforming power of your love.
Use us as your instruments
for the renewal of society,
bringing your life and love to all,
and leading them to your Church.
This we ask of you, Lord Jesus,
living and reigning with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever.
"O Risen Lord"
The words are so familiar they have become almost trite. Yet what beautiful words they are! So powerful! So challenging! Words of dying yet of triumph. A challenge to die and at the same time a challenge to live. Complex words which need to be broken open if their beauty and truth are to be fully seen and lived.
In my circumscribed world and time, with all my humanness and sin, I am called to be the risen One: not to be “like” Jesus but with Jesus the one who has died and come back to life as only I in the uniqueness of my personhood can do. That is my calling in baptism; in this Congregation of the Resurrection. The challenge is personal. The call is to me! In my feeble attempts to unite with my Lord I am called repeatedly to my personal Gethsemane; my own crucifixion; my Easter. In and with Jesus I must endure the on-going pain of self-dying so I can become more fully “Life”. That process is the heart of my ministry; one I am vowed to; one that is my gift of love.
But my rising is a constant struggle. It calls me to a hope that overwhelms despair and depression; to a faith that overshadows doubt and insecurity; to a love that overcomes envy and jealousy and ambition; to a compassion which brings me into the suffering journey of so many others.
It’s hard Lord. Sometimes it’s easier to follow you in your pain than in your resurrection. In the pain there is room for self-pity and in self-pity there is often a sick consolation, a sense of martyrdom which in some strange and unhealthy way can be a source of self-satisfaction – of “smugness”.
“Risen” doesn’t allow any of this. “Risen” means facing life squarely, honestly, triumphantly, confident not that the battles are over but that the final victory has been won. My task, then, is to live the victory; to share in it and to share it so that the dying will not have been in vain. If my call to be a Resurrectionist doesn’t encompass all this what is its gift?