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A meditation: the order of birth and death

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I have heard it said that in our faith lives, Christ and the cross must be inseparable. If you follow "fluffy happy Jesus", a kum-bah-yah caricature that avoids any mention of sacrifice, then you do not know the real Christ. Likewise, if you follow "guilt Jesus", a fire-and-brimstone caricature that focuses only on sin, then you do not know the real Christ. The real Christ is joy coming from sacrifice -- both the Incarnation and the cross.

At Mass today, I was meditating on that theme after Eucharist, and the idea came to me that Christ turned the usual order of the world backwards. In the natural world, birth comes first, and is followed by death. In Christ, the spiritual death of sin comes first, and is followed by the spiritual birth of the sacraments of forgiveness: baptism, penance, and anointing. And in another reflection of the same theme, our physical death on earth will be followed by our physical birth in heaven at the general resurrection.

The faith has so many layers, symbols, and types. You can delve into a theme, such as the reversal of the order of birth and death, and go deeper and deeper to find new reflections of that theme. From the Egyptians' death at the first Passover came the Hebrews' birth into freedom and the promised land. From Isaac's near-death came the birth of Jacob, also known as Israel -- the birth of the chosen people of God. This is what I love about the faith: the way themes are repeated in so many rich layers.

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Anonymous said...
April 26, 2008 at 9:57 PM  

Excellent Point!
Mary Alice

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