The Christian triumph is not triumphalism PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 October 2015 14:09

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Christian life is a triumphant life. Victory is assured because Christ has conquered sin and death, and has converted our mortal curse into an eternal glory with him in heaven, and even aspects of this glory while still here on earth.

There’s always reason to be happy and confident, hopeful and optimistic, regardless... God has given us everything to assure our victory in our earthly struggle. We should have no doubt about this truth of our faith, even if circumstances seem to contradict.

Let’s engrave these words in our hearts: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Rom 8,31-32)

But the Christian triumph is never to be considered as triumphalism, that mindless, thoughtless and blind sense of victory that is showy on the outside but empties the inside of the real substance of this Christian triumph. Let’s be wary of this trend.

The Christian triumph that is represented in Christ’s resurrection is a result of Christ’s passion and death on the cross.

There is no resurrection without the cross. One cannot be without the other. We have to understand then that our triumph with Christ cannot be without our sharing in the passion and death of Christ.

St. Paul expresses it very clearly: “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his...If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Rom 6,5ff).

This truth of our faith is crucial, and should be spread widely and made operative, continually stirring it into life and action since we are always bombarded nowadays with many elements that seek to nullify this truth.

Today, many people, especially the young, think that the Christian triumph is all sweet and fragrant, practically ignoring the cross. Waves and waves of materialism, secularism, hedonism are flooding the world, practically erasing the need for the cross.

Let’s take this Lenten season to recover our sense of the cross, our great need for it, for in the first place the cross cannot be avoided. The cross that signifies suffering is the inevitable consequence of our sins.

That’s just how our nature works. And God our Creator, though nothing is impossible with him, chooses to respect the law of our nature that he himself gave. Still, everything, including the evils of this world, would be under his all-wise and merciful Providence.

No matter how much we try to remove evil from sin, as some people are trying to do, sin would still be sin and the suffering would still come like blood coming out from a fresh wound. We need to reconcile ourselves fully with the reality of our sinfulness and God’s mercy.

But we have to struggle. We need to learn how to deal with our weaknesses and defects, how to grapple with temptations, what to do with the consequences of our mistakes, our falls and our sins. The art of spiritual combat has to be mastered. The virtues of patience, fortitude and optimism have to be consolidated.

What is most important is to grow in intimacy with Christ who makes himself so easily and directly available to us in his word and doctrine, in the Church and in the sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Let’s never take these spiritual and supernatural means for granted.

Let’s meditate on the passion and death of Christ frequently, especially in this season of Lent, and try to fathom the source of the strength of Christ in absorbing all the pains and humiliations and ultimately his death on Calvary.

There we can somehow intuit that it was Christ’s obedience to his Father that gave him all that strength to suffer everything. It is this obedience, the very essence and fullness of our faith in God, which would enable us to take on anything, including giving up our life.

This is what will make for our Christian triumph. It is a triumph stronger than any pain and suffering the world can inflict on us. It is stronger than death itself. We need to feel at home with this reality, though obviously it will not be easy.

We need nothing less than God’s grace to achieve this. That’s why we have to pray and pray, beg and importune God, like a beggar in dire need of the most basic necessity, to give us this grace.