A Heart Risen – A Life Hidden
BY FR ANTHONY PERCY VG
WHAT happens to us when we rise and ascend with Jesus in his resurrection and ascension?
Blessed John Henry Newman preached that our hearts rise with the Lord and our life remains hidden with him. His “bouncing board” is Colossians 3:1-3:
“If then you are risen with Christ….Your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Christians are not withdrawn from the world by Jesus. Rather, they remain in it, but with a different modus operandi:
I do not mean, of course, that one can be spiritual who neglects the duties of this world, but that there is an inner and truer life in spiritual persons, beyond the life and conversation which others see.
Newman employs the metaphor of the mountain. He utilises the metaphor of repose:
Spiritual people take a different course; they have risen with Christ, and they are like persons who have climbed a mountain and are reposing at the top.
All is noise and tumult, mist and darkness at its foot; but on the mountain’s top it is so very still, so very calm and serene, so pure, so clear, so bright, so heavenly, that to their sensations it is as if the clamour of earth did not sound below, and shadows and gloom were no where to be found.
Spiritual people and unspiritual people both live in the world, but some live on the mountain top, while other languish at the foot of the mountain. The challenge is to ascend the mountain, leave behind what enslaves and “abide” in the gift that is offered:
If you have neglected to stir up the great gift of God which is lodged deep within you, the gift of election and regeneration, … make a new beginning.
Seemingly, there is no time to lose. Leave behind the “dross” and search for “gold:”
Start, now, and rise with Christ. See, he offers you his hand; he is rising; rise with him. Mount up from the grave of the old Adam; from the grovelling cares, and jealousies, and fretfulness, and worldly aims; from the thraldom of habit, from the tumult of passion, from fascinations of the flesh, from a cold, worldly, calculating spirit, from frivolity, from selfishness, from effeminacy, from self-conceit and high mindedness.
To ascend the mountain, to repose in the still, calm, serene, pure, clear, bright light is to rise with Jesus and to remain with him, amidst the vast array of human endeavour.
Excerpts are taken from a homily by Blessed John Henry Newman: Rising with Christ. Newman (1801-1890) lived in England and converted to Catholicism in 1845. He was a poet, and an outstanding theologian.