We have died with Christ so that we may rise with Christ. Rm. 6:1-14; 1 Cor. 15

Death, Resurrection and Eternal Life Though my father is dead I continue speaking to him as present to me. In fact I set up a blog where our family can post memories and "talk" to dad. Is dad’s soul asleep while his body decays and awaits resurrection? With a new concept of time and a fresh understanding of the body Ratzinger explores the question with very hope filled words: “Whenever someone enters into the ‘I’ of Christ, he has entered straight away into the space of unconditional life.” “Faith, which is the contact between Jesus and myself vouchsafes here and now the crossing of death’s frontier." These words have a mystical connotation which allows us to consider that in baptism “we enter on a common destiny with that of Jesus and so with death….Suffering and dying with Christ means at the same time a participation in the hope of the resurrection." Paul says we have died with Christ so that we may rise with him (Rm. 6:1-14; 1 Cor. 15). The communion offered by God is life. “New life has already begun and will nevermore be snuffed out" and awaits future glory. The Eucharist is pledge of this future glory: “Feeding on Jesus’ word and on his flesh, that is receiving him by both faith and sacrament, is described as being nourished with the bread of immortality.”

The morning of the day dad died was a Saturday in Ordinary liturgical time. He died after 4 P.M. as the day transformed into the Vigil of the Birth of John the Baptist. He died in liturgical time while in chronos-time he offered his sufferings in the belief that the “God who has suffered, has become the final victor over all evil,” knowing in this sense heaven truly exists. In our vigil we remained watchful for the “Other who throws open the portals of time and death from the outside.” We spoke about relationship in the Trinity. As we spoke we both knew that death was not the end of relationship – God gives life in the midst of death.

Through self-emptying love eternal life breaks through. God is love, is in relationship, and so God is life. Even as Dad’s body diminished he remained a “whole man in his unity who moves toward eternity.” In the communion of saints, the body of Christ, eternity was accessible to him. “When human life is lived in Jesus it steps into the ‘time of Jesus’ that is, into love, which transforms and opens up eternity.” History concluded for Dad but he did not lose his relation to history. His final place in the whole can be determined only when the pasio and actio of history have come to their end. The resurrection of the body, a state in which matter and spirit will belong to each other in a new and definite way, remains the concrete content of the confession of the resurrection of the flesh. The trumpet of the Word is already summoning us, and yet it is still to be sounded. “The true frontier between life and death does not lie in biological dying, but in the distinction between being with the One who is life and the isolation which refuses such ‘being with....The borderline between Sheol and life runs through our very midst, and those who are in Christ are situated on the side of life, and that everlastingly....Only the mortal remains of our loved ones lie there in the tombs awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls, as Scripture says, are already 'in the hands of God'. And so the most appropriate and effective way to honor them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity.”

Quotes from Benedict XVI On Escatology