April 19, 2017
Paulist Fr. Tom Ryan recently wrote in The Boston Pilot on “The Goal of Easter: To Bring Us to Newness of Life.”
” .. Here is an essential truth of Christian faith: when we, like Jesus, are available for service in love at the cost of personal sacrifice, the very act of living is a share in the dying-rising of Christ.
We are engaged in daily rehearsals for our grand finale. Death and resurrection are not separate from life. They are not just future. They are present. To look upon the resurrection as a narrow escape from death is to miss the full meaning of human life, to miss the death and resurrection that are present in every day’s living.
Death and resurrection are not to be pushed out of life, are not to be seen as ultimate events but as immediate experiences. They are not final events but daily choices. They are every step of the journey, the inner exodus from the old self to the new. ‘I die daily,’ said St. Paul. But he also rose daily.
Dying to what? Basically to sin and a self-centered existence. Dying to sin is not merely turning from evil, but turning to Christ ever more fully in a deepening process of constant, life-long conversion.
One illustration of it is seen in our struggle to let go of yesterday, of the past. Not forget it, just let it go. Whether it’s turning 21, 50, 65, or 80. Whether it’s losing our health or our hair, our money or our memory, a person we love or a possession we prize.
‘Dying to self’ is letting go of where our security once lay. Whether it’s family or friends. Whether it’s being retired, divorced or disabled. Whether it’s a change of life or a change of pace. We must not cling to what once was but is no more.
Wherever or whatever or with whomever we’ve been, we dare not cling. We have to move on. And all moving on is a dying, a letting go. It’s the imprint of the Paschal Mystery of Easter on our lives. … “
Paulist Fr. Tom Ryan leads the Paulist Fathers Office on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. He lives in Boston.