Fr Thomas Nulty, National Chaplain to the Catholic Nurses Guild on what Easter means to him
THE CENTRAL theme and the very core of the early Church's teaching was the Resurrection of Christ. It was his greatest miracle, proving his divinity, that he was, in very deed, the Son of God. It is Christ's supreme victory over sin and death. This great mystery is the cornerstone of our Faith; for St Paul has said, "If Christ had not risen from the dead, vain would be your faith and vain would be our preaching".
Easter, or the feast of the Resurrection, is the greatest feast of the Catholic Church. The early Christians, by acceptance and firm belief in this great mystery, were changed, transformed and renewed in spirit.
They lived as a people redeemed and were a shining example to those around them. The pagans around them would say, "Behold these Christians how they love one another." As St. Paul says, they "were a new creation, and had clothed themselves in Christ". They were living examples of charity, humility, faith, justice and hope, to all with whom they came in contact.
The true Christian, sees Easter as a time of renewal, of selfexamination in the light of the Gospel. For God has called us Out of darkness into his own wonderful light.
St. Peter tells us that we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation — a people set apart". As we celebrate this great feast we should endeavour to view things in the light of eternity. We know that "we haye not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come."
Therefore we should give closer consideration to the theological virtues, and the manner of practise. They are the foundation, the centre and the summit of the Christian life. Faith begins, charity completes, and hope is the bond of union between them.
It is fitting that at Easter especially we concentrate particularly on Hope, for Christ's resurrection is the firm ground of our hope. Where he has gone we hope to follow.
The deeper one's faith, the greater one's hope will be. We are entirely in God's hands and his will is our sanctification and salvation.
The acid test of holiness is the conformity of our will to the will of God. To be a saint all that is needed is to do everything that God wills, and to will everything that God does. In practice this is easier said than done.
A spiritual writer puts it like this; "a time will come when work and strife and all the planet's teeming life will all be still. What matters then if man, so bold, did conquer kingdoms or gather gold — nought matters but God's will."
St. John, the beloved disciple, tells us that God first loved us, and that is the firm ground of our hope. He loves us exactly as we are, weak mortals, poor sinners.
Our Divine Lord during the course of his public ministry, constantly spoke of the love and providence of God, our heavenly Father — He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. The words he addressed to his disciples are meant for us also. "Why are you fearful, 0 ye of little faith." Yes, he has made us, he has given us all, even our very life. As St. Augustine says, "our hearts shall not rest, until they rest in Thee."
To be a disciple of Christ, or a true Christian, is to be absolutely and utterly convinced that loving God and attaining heaven is the ultimate reason and purpose of our very existence.