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(You can find links to other posts in the series here, or at Catholic365)
It can be a bit of a let-down to move from the glory of Christ to the Third Power, to raggedy little me, just barely back from the grave. But, such is life in Christ.
Let’s just be glad he made us “alive when [we] were dead in sin.” (Eph. 2:1) It’s creepy to think that, without formally signing up for Satan’s corps, we were following him… “children of wrath.” The Catechism explains: The natural rebellion of the ‘flesh’ against the ‘spirit’ is called ‘concupiscence.’ It “stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles men’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines men to commit sins.” (CCC 2515) Depending on your own salvation history, you may not remember a time when you leant toward evil. Baptism may, early on, have straightened your course. (“Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.” CCC 1213)
Still, “the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. In the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil.” (CCC 978) We find ourselves pretty puny vessels for all that Resurrection power of Christ. Yet, by God’s mercy, we are spiritually alive, and that’s grounds for rejoicing!
“The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life.” (CCC 654) Think: ‘down arrow’. That’s us, under the water of Baptism, appropriating Christ’s death. That death liberates us from bondage to sin. Think: ‘up arrow’. That’s us, shooting up newly made out of the water, through the Resurrection power that just opened a new doorway to life.
Try to imagine yourself coming alive in a space filled with the love of the Persons of the Trinity for one another. Just stand there for a moment, newly made, in the open doorway to a life full of new light and possibility.
Now, put down some roots. Picture them, really, descending through your feet down into that Ocean of Divine Mercy where Resurrection power is the order of the day. You’ll want to be deeply connected to that love before you – weakling as you are – take steps forward. How, how, do you do this? Don’t worry! The Church has you surrounded! “Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in the great love with which [the Father] loved us in his beloved Son.” (CCC 1073)
You – little, broken, faulty, measly, silly you – to the ‘first power’ are like Christ in the womb, in a way. The Church is your life-support system – Her liturgy, Her Sacraments. Just as the Incarnation of Christ was an unprecedented, miraculous event in human history – long before He was more fully realized as God in the Resurrection – the incorporation of YOU into His Body, the Church, is miraculous, stupendous, amazing, unprecedented!
He has raised you up with Him and seated you in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) already!! “United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains ‘hidden with Christ in God’.” (CCC 1003)
In fact, every time you pray the Our Father, you’re professing that you are already with Him in heaven. Did you think you just meant to say that He was in heaven?? Guess again! Check out CCC 2796:
“When the Church prays ‘our Father who art in heaven,’ she is professing that we are the people of God, already seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
Okay, I’m going to leave you standing in that doorway to your new life, drinking in love through every pore of your being, putting down roots that will keep you supplied when we move on to You, to the Second Power in part two of this second chapter of Ephesians.
Note: This is a Catholic Bible Study series. In it, I take up the references in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. References are to specific paragraphs in the Catechism, not to page numbers. You can see all the citations in the index at the back of the CCC.