“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (
An icon of the Eastern Churches depicts the Risen Christ that breaks down, in a powerful way, the door that holds the dead prisoners. The hinges and even the nails fly in every direction. Jesus stretches out His arms: with one hand He pulls out Adam, and with the other Eve. In the first human couple is represented humanity snatched from death and brought into the kingdom of the risen Christ.
Jesus with His death descended into the abyss of our anguish, of our death, of our sin, to raise us up to heaven. Being incorporated as members, in Him, we already participate in His resurrection, and we are already risen in him, in the heart of the Trinity. But, while we are itinerants on the earth, the work of sanctification continues unrelentingly. Every day we see the gap between "what is above" and our fragility that leads us to give up. "Up there" sin and death can no longer enter and the Father's will is perfectly done. Instead, as long as we are on this earth, we are exposed to thousands of difficulties and temptations that can slow or even divert our path toward false goals.
Knowing the struggle that is in us,
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An Experience of Life:
Twenty years, and the belief that to live my life meant to do whatever I liked. A circle of friends beyond the limits of legality: drugs, disco, hooliganism, clashes with the police, the thirst for money and power, fights between rival gangs.
My brother had started at that time to hang around with new friends who immediately struck me: they had between them a relationship very different from what I had lived with my gang and they lived taking seriously the words of Jesus. God for me was nothing and those guys intrigued me, but I could not understand them: I watched them so that later I could have a good laugh with my friends.
Then, the accident: a car struck me while I was on a motorcycle going to the disco. The drama of a moment: if my life had ended, what was left in my hands? I in a flash there appeared to me all of the futility of my years spent chasing nothing, that left me nothing. And a suddenly flash: a trip to the mountains many years before, a person who had proposed that I entrust my life to God. By now it was too late to do it, or perhaps God had accepted that prayer?
At the hospital, none of my friends ever came to see me. Instead the girl friend of my brother came immediately and stayed by me all the days of hospitalization. With her, slowly, was born a friendship and deep esteem and I discovered that her God-Love could transform and enrich even my life.
"Love one another as I have loved you," Jesus repeated even to me: it was a radical revolution. In my heart I said yes. I drastically decided to get out of the gang. It was not easy. But there were my new friends to support me and the personal love of God to give me strength. I felt reborn and the Gospel indicated to me, step by step, the way to go.